Living with Chronic Pain? 10 Things You Wish People Knew
Chronic pain is an invisible illness that cannot always be seen by other people, which causes a lack of support by doctors, friends, family, and employers. Here are ten things individuals with chronic pain want you to know.
1. No one intends to feel this way
No one ever wants to be in pain, so be gentle with the things you say. It is not helpful to say things such as, “It can’t hurt that bad.”
2. Doctors do not well understand chronic pain
Many doctors do not actually understand chronic pain or what causes it; therefore, it may be hard to find the right treatment. This may cause patients to spend lots of time looking for the right treatment option.
3. Being unable to work is not the same as taking a vacation
If a person with chronic pain is unable to work, it does not mean they are having fun at home. It may be a struggle to perform certain tasks such as getting out of bed, dressing themselves, and using the bathroom.
4. Many emotions are associated with chronic pain
People with chronic pain are at an increased risk of developing all sorts of emotions, such as depression, denial, anxiety, or despair. They may also feel very isolated and do not always walk to talk on the phone or in person.
5. Symptoms of chronic pain are complex
Aside from being in constant pain, patients may also experience nausea, muscle cramping, brain fog, headaches, vision problems, gastrointestinal problems, and change of appetite.
6. Chronic fatigue is not the same as being tired
Chronic fatigue occurs when daily activities such as waking up or getting dressed become impossible. It is not the same as being lazy or even over tired. Chronic fatigue does not improve no matter how much sleep a person gets.
7. Chronic illness patients are always in pain
Pain may radiate from different areas of the body to include leg, back, head, neck, shoulder, arm, or muscle pain.
8. Brain fog is frustrating
Brain fog is a common symptom of chronic pain. It may cause difficulty speaking, memory loss, or forgetting where certain items are.
9. Chronic illness patients have a greater risk of developing other conditions
The common cold may be more severe in patients with a chronic illness. This is because the immune system is already comprised, which makes it easier for other pathogens to sneak in and cause disruptions.
10. Certain foods can trigger problems
Certain inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, alcohol, soy and processed foods, may worsen symptoms.