Living with Chronic Pain
5 Things Individuals With Chronic Pain Would Like Others to Know
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Oftentimes, it’s difficult for others to understand what an individual with chronic pain experiences on a daily basis. Here are five things that individuals with chronic pain would like others to know:
- Chronic pain is real.
Individuals with chronic pain are often treated as though they are fabricating, or at least exaggerating, their condition. Regardless of what others think, the truth is that all pain is real, even if a distinct cause cannot be identified. People with chronic pain want to be pain-free more than they desire most anything else. Individuals with chronic pain need understanding and support, not questions regarding whether their pain exists. Statements such as, “It must not be that bad” or “Get over it” accomplish nothing other than to discourage them.
- Chronic pain often leads to sleep-related problems.
Chronic pain often disrupts sleep patterns, and not getting proper amounts of sleep can worsen chronic pain. It can become a vicious cycle. People with chronic pain often have trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and still feel tired upon waking.
- Chronic pain often leads to disuse syndrome.
Chronic pain conditions can lead to a long-term deficit in physical activity and a condition known as disuse syndrome. This diagnosis can negatively impact the body and mind, including emotional, psychological, neurological, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal processes. Furthermore, disuse syndrome often results in an all-encompassing deficit of wellness that can be debilitating.
- Happiness does not equal health.
When a person with chronic pain is having a “good day” or smiling, others may assume that the person is not feeling pain. However, this is not necessarily the case. It is important to realize that chronic pain symptoms and happiness can be felt at the same time. Others should not assume that someone is “better” because they have happy moments.
- The experience of pain is highly individualized.
The experience of pain is different for everyone. Even if two people have the same condition, one may feel incapacitated while the other may not display any ill-effects. The experience of pain is subjective; there are many reasons for this, including a person’s upbringing, individual physiology, etc.