Living with Chronic Pain
3 Questions Individuals With Chronic Pain May Ask Themselves
Living with chronic pain can be challenging. Individuals with chronic pain often wonder if they are properly dealing with their condition and how it is affecting their relationships. Here are three questions that individuals with chronic pain sometimes contemplate:
1. Should I exert my body to the limit or play it safe?
Occasionally, the yearning to participate in activities once enjoyed is so intense that individuals with chronic pain convince themselves that it is okay to overexert their bodies. While low-impact exercise is often beneficial for chronic pain, pushing the body to the point of pain should be avoided. Overexertion tends to result in exacerbated symptoms for days after the activity.
2. Should I ignore new symptoms or ask a doctor?
Oftentimes, individuals with chronic pain are hesitant to mention new symptoms to health care providers because they are afraid of being labeled as “too sensitive” or a “hypochondriac.” New symptoms should never be ignored. They may be a symptom of the diagnosed chronic pain condition or a symptom of another underlying condition that needs attention. Open and honest communication with health care providers should be a priority.
3. Should I share my chronic pain journey with others or keep it private?
Individuals with chronic pain sometimes worry that if their condition is shared with friends or coworkers that they might be criticized or judged unfairly. They may also fear that sharing their story will alter the way others relate to them. Communicating with other people about one’s chronic pain is a difficult decision as there is a possibility that others will treat them differently; however, there is also a possibility that others will understand and offer support. Of course, individuals with chronic pain need social connections and support; keeping chronic pain private can lead to isolation. Alternatively, if individuals choose not to share their chronic pain journey, others may assume that they can partake in activities when they actually shouldn’t. The decision about whether an individual shares their chronic pain condition with others is highly personal and is best dealt with on an individual, case-by-case basis.