Living with Chronic Pain
Doctor, Here's What You Need to Know About My Chronic Pain
As a person who suffers from chronic pain, you definitely want your family and friends to understand what you’re going through and how it affects your physical and mental well-being. Accordingly, here are five details describing chronic pain that you can share with others:
1. Chronic pain is real
Often times, people with chronic pain are treated as though they are fabricating, or at least exaggerating, the pain that they are going through. Regardless of what others think, the truth is that all pain is real, even if a distinct cause cannot be identified. Moreover, nearly all people with chronic pain want to be pain-free more than they desire anything else. When you speak with your friends and family, be sure to remind them that you need their kindness and support, not questions regarding whether or not your pain exists. Declarations like “It must not be that bad” or “get over it” accomplish nothing other than to discourage those living with chronic pain.
2. Chronic pain often leads to sleep-related problems
Due to its nature, chronic pain can cause a vicious cycle when it comes to sleep: chronic pain makes it tough to sleep, and not getting proper amounts of sleep can make chronic pain worse. People with chronic pain often have trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and still feel tired in the morning.
3. Chronic pain often leads to disuse syndrome
Chronic pain generally results in a long-term deficit in physical activity and a condition known as disuse syndrome. This diagnosis can impact many processes in a negative manner, including emotional, psychological, neurological, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal processes. Further, disuse syndrome results in an all-encompassing deficit of wellness that can be independently debilitating.
4. Happiness does not equal health
Generally, when a person with chronic pain is having a “good day” or smiling, people believe that the person is not feeling pain. However, this is likely not the case. It is important to realize that the experience of pain and happiness can be felt at the same time! Further, do not assume that someone is “better” because they seem happy, as tomorrow is a new day.
5. Pain is intensely personal
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. There are many reasons for this including a person’s upbringing, individual physiology, etc.