Throughout your life, you will experience pain every once in a while. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong with your body. If you have an injury, you will experience pain until it heals. Chronic pain, on the other hand, does not go away. The pain continues for months or years after the injury. Chronic pain frequently affects your day to day life and can impact your mental health.
Chronic pain affects more than 50 million American adults. The constant pain takes a toll on every aspect of a person’s life. Very often, their relationships with family members and friends can become strained. The constant pain can be stressful and make the sufferer snappy and hateful. Let’s take a look at the top ten things every pain sufferer wishes you could understand.
Each Day Is Different – Chronic pain sufferers never know what their day will be like. They can feel great in the morning and by midafternoon, they can be in extreme pain. Conversely, they may wake up in so much pain they cannot tolerate simple movements.
The Pain Never Goes Away – They never seem to get away from their pain. Saying things like “Get well soon,” can actually make the sufferer feel worse because they know that the pain never really stops, and their future looks bleak and hopeless.
Stop Giving Advice – You may have heard of some new pain medicine on the market or a new treatment, but you should keep it to yourself unless asked. Chronic pain sufferers not only see a variety of doctors, including chiropractors, acupuncturists, and integrative practitioners; they have also done a lot of research themselves. Rather than suggestions, sufferers want empathy and comfort.
Pain Management – There are many different therapies used to help relieve a person’s pain. Their doctor may recommend certain exercises, medications, and patches to help alleviate their pain. In addition to this, several self-care methodologies can help relieve chronic pain. Deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation can help a sufferer focus on something other than their pain to provide them with relief.
No Medicine Completely Eliminates Pain – Medications are great; however, they do not eliminate all of the pain symptoms. Pain medicine is designed to reduce the pain to a tolerable level. Furthermore, over time, these medications stop working as well. Every chronic pain sufferer knows this and lives with the anxiety of wondering when the pain medicine will no longer relieve their pain.
Anxiety and Depression Go Hand in Hand with Pain – When you suffer from chronic pain, it is extremely stressful. You can no longer plan in advance because you never know how you will feel. Depression can set in as the sufferer is forced to spend more and more time alone.
Physical Limitations – Chronic pain sufferers would love to get out and enjoy life; however, they oftentimes cannot keep up with their friends and family members. Rather than feeling like they are a burden, they will decline invitations. Planning adventures that take into account their limitations can keep them active and prevent loneliness.
Ask Questions – A chronic pain sufferer will not share information about their pain unless they are asked. Most sufferers think of their pain as a stigma rather than a medical condition. Asking the right questions can help you understand what day to day life is for the sufferer. Find out how their pain began and what other symptoms and co-existing issues they deal with daily.
Listen and Understand – Oftentimes, a chronic pain sufferer will glaze over how they are truly feeling because they are afraid, they will be ridiculed or will not be believed. One of the best things you can do is to be a good listener. When you are open about your feelings, experiences, and beliefs, your friend or family member is more likely to open up.
Never Compare Their Pain to Others – Chronic pain affects each individual differently. If you compare your pain or another person’s pain to a chronic pain sufferer, you can make them feel worthless and a failure. Instead, remain positive and show them that you will be there on their good days as well as their bad days.
Need Help With Pain Relief
Chronic pain can be overwhelming. It impacts every aspect of a person’s life and can lead to anxiety and depression. Chronic pain can be caused by injuries, surgeries, nerve damage, arthritis, and much more. Learning about chronic pain and how it affects individuals can help you be supportive.
Our integrative pain specialist helps with all kinds of acute and chronic pain. They use a variety of treatment modalities including functional medicine, osteopathic medicine, medical acupuncture, nutritional pain management and stress management to provide you lasting pain relief.