Living with Chronic Pain
Common Challenges of Living With Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is complex: the symptoms vary in duration, intensity and are highly individualized. However, individuals with chronic pain often share many of the same frustrations and difficulties.
Getting out of bed may be difficult.
When living with chronic pain, it may be physically difficult to get out of bed. Many people with chronic pain report increased pain when they wake up in the morning.
Emotions are often affected.
Dealing with chronic pain often affects emotions. The mind and body are inherently connected. Depression may develop when chronic pain affects the ability to work, socialize and exercise. Chronic pain can lead to depression, and depression can worsen chronic pain; it is often a vicious cycle.
Sleeping may be difficult.
Symptoms of chronic pain can prevent restorative sleep. Lack of proper sleep can cause reduced energy and increased pain during waking hours. Practicing proper sleep hygiene can help.
Daily chores may be overwhelming.
On days when chronic pain is manageable, individuals may try to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. However, pushing oneself can cause fatigue and rebound pain. The practice of activity pacing can help create balance and manage pain levels.
The ability to concentrate may be impaired.
When pain is heightened, it may be difficult to accomplish tasks that require concentration. During these times, practicing mind-based coping techniques can calmly distract the mind.
Family and friends may not understand.
It is often difficult for others to understand the challenges of living with chronic pain. Even the most well-intentioned family and friends may need guidance to understand the daily difficulties associated with chronic pain. It may be helpful to share an open letter about chronic pain with friends and loved ones.