Living with Chronic Pain
This is the kind of pain is usually what patients these days complain about. Patients would describe it as if they have had a pain in certain part of their body for years which doesn’t go away with the usual management techniques. What people who don’t suffer from it may be surprised about is that, for most patients, the pain is the least that bothers them. Yes it is frustrating and can even keep patients in bed for days but it’s actually the baggage that comes along with the condition that usually really gets patients down.
This is probably the reason why chronic pain sufferers gets misunderstood a lot. Other people assumes “Oh you have chronic pain, then you should be fine if you take your pill (or whatever pain management remedy that they can think of)” when in reality it’s actually more complicated than that. While it’s different from patient to patient, here are the basic things that chronic pain sufferers have to live with every day.
Worsens Your Health
When people say that they have chronic back pain or chronic knee pain, believe me when I say this that that’s not the only pain that they have. Most of the time, it starts on a particular part of the body and it just crawls to the rest like a thief and the next thing you know your body feels so heavy and way older than your age. That’s because pain can start a vicious cycle that has a direct impact on your health. One injury can turn you into an inactive person which gives birth to a slew of other health problems.
Partly because chronic pain is a personal and subjective experience not to mention comes with invisible symptoms, patients face a huge stigma in addition to having disabling symptoms. People don’t understand the totally of the condition, so patients of chronic pain are often misunderstood why they had to miss an important occasion “just because of an back pain”, mocked by “exaggerating” the severity of the pain to gain sympathy or attention, or not believed altogether thinking that they’re just “faking it” to get out of a situation or responsibility. When patients don’t have any outward sign of suffering like a cast or bandage, they tend to easily dismiss it since “you look fine”. What many people don’t realize is how debilitating and life disrupting chronic pain is. Even chronic pain sufferers would tell you how they’d give anything to live a pain-free life.
When you have chronic pain, you lose a huge chunk of time not just for yourself but as well as the people around you. You will feel unproductive all the time because of not being able to finish your work or even work at all for days when it is really bad. And then you also find yourself cancelling a lot of plans because you’re spent and can’t even take another step around the house. And when you do finally make it to an appointment, even though you’re glad to spend time with family or friends, you’re also itching to go home because your energy level is dropping by the minute and every muscle in your body is begging for the bed. Losing years of life quantity and quality is definitely one of the biggest unaffordable loss for a lot of chronic pain patients. It’s no wonder then that no one likes to talk about the subtraction effect that ongoing pain has on his or her lifetime.
The thing with chronic pain is that aside from the excruciating pain it often comes with fatigue too. Daily routine feels so much harder and the day feels so much longer because you barely have enough energy to even get out of the bed much less run your errands and chores. That’s just the normal daily level of pain where you’re still able to go about your day though struggling. But when a flare up happens that a whole league of its own. This is when you basically stay in bed for days because even the act of adjusting your body on the bed or going to the toilet already feels like a marathon. The pain becomes unimaginable like even you would question how you can be in this much pain and still be alive. And then it just feel like your soul escaped your body because you just don’t have the energy at all.
Lost Opportunity And Sacrifices
There’s a hefty price tag attached to the many potential opportunities that intractable pain stops dead in their tracks. Sometimes grieving over what might have been can be just as difficult as coping with what is. If you had to end your career early, curtail socializing, give up traveling, limit driving, miss important time with family/friends, or narrow your operating world significantly, then you understand sacrifice, limitations and/or lost opportunity.
It Affects Your Personality And Relationships
Chronic pain can rob patients a part of themselves. If you know someone who used to be bubbly and then became cold or someone who you know to be very adventurous now barely participates in anything, there’s a huge chance some of them are suffering from chronic pain. That’s not them intentionally changing themselves but it’s the condition that’s limiting their life that forces them to adjust to it without realizing it. If you talk to patients you’d often hear them say the person before they had their condition feels like a different person from who they are now.
The underlying hits to heart and soul add up too for the courage, fortitude and considerable patience it takes to try to find themselves again, craft a new normal and reach some level of acceptance. That kind of change affects the people around them too especially those closer to them like family and friends. Losing connection with people you expected to stick around forever becomes commonplace and forming a strong bond with ones you’ve never expected to will always be a pleasant surprise.
We all know pain costs too much money that could have been spent on better things or even saved. While often coping with the stress of lost income, the bills for prescriptions, treatments and insurance quickly add up. Not only does a protracted painful condition regularly send you a bill to be paid in full; when we’re in debt it has ways of challenging our will, perseverance, hope, sanity, and even courage at times.
Chronic pain is like a really heartless creditor, it offers no grace period, understanding or consideration. It expects to be paid in time, energy, money or sacrifices, affordable or not. Pain never skips a bill for what it takes, like some twisted accounting mistake.
Article Provided By: Dr. Gary Tho