I want to talk about Pain today. Physical pain is something that most people can say they’ve experienced at some point in their lives and it’s something that feels different for every person. If you live with Chronic Pain, you will experience pain in a completely different way than Acute pain, which is short-lived or fleeting.
When you are in pain, you are often asked to describe how bad your pain is on a scale of 1 (being the least amount of pain) and 10 (being the worst pain you’ve ever felt). Doctors often use this chart:
I personally prefer this updated pain chart:
Types of Pain
- acute pain starts suddenly and is short-term
- chronic pain lasts for a longer period of time
- breakthrough pain often happens in between regular, scheduled painkillers
- bone pain happens when cancer is affecting a bone
- soft tissue pain happens when organs, muscles or tissues are damaged or inflamed
- nerve pain happens when a nerve is damaged
- referred pain is when pain from one part of your body is felt in another
- phantom pain is when there is pain in a part of the body that has been removed
- total pain includes the emotional, social and spiritual factors that affect a person’s pain experience.
- hyperalgesia – extreme and abnormally heightened sensation to pain
- allodynia – Allodynia refers to central pain sensitization following normally non-painful, often repetitive, stimulation.
- paresthesia – an abnormal sensation such a prickling or “pins and needles” in a part of the body caused chiefly by pressure on the peripheral nerves
- visceral – pain that is felt in the thoracic, pelvic, or abdominal organs
Some of the descriptive words that are commonly used to define your pain include:
Living With Pain
For most people, pain is a response to an injury or illness and is generally short-lived. It tells us that there is a problem in the body so that we can get the proper treatment to correct the situation.
For people who live with Chronic or Persistant Pain, the body continues to send out pain signals long after the original injury or illness, or in response to an ongoing condition such as arthritis.
It’s important to talk about your pain and to work with your healthcare team to find ways to manage it. There are many treatment options available, from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to medications such as Opioid drugs. It may help to have a trusted friend you can share with.
Some people find talk therapy a good alternative – for example, in British Columbia, Canada, there is a program from PainBC.com that pairs you up with a trained Pain Consultant in their “Coaching for Health” program.
Emotional Pain can be just as devastating as physical pain, as there is often a harder time finding ways of reducing the anguish that is felt. This is where talk therapy and Cognitive Behavour Therapy can be especially of benefit.
You may be feeling particularly distressed about the physical pain you are feeling. By seeking ways to share your emotions, you can ease the burden that’s been placed on you and come to terms with the physical pain that may now be a permanent part of your life.
I belong to a Fibromyalgia Group on Facebook called Fibro Connect. This question was recently asked and I’ve been given permission to share some answers here:
Finish this sentence: The hardest thing for me when I got chronic pain was…
- Sheila Ibe McGaughey Hicks: When I don’t have anything to cure the pain and the Dr.s don’t give a da–. If it was them you can bet they would have something!!
- Melissa Temple: Dealing with what I couldn’t do anymore.
- Margie Daily Williams: Relationships
- Vicki Fellas DeKroney: Going out with my husband and doing things we used to do. Liked dancing.
- Peggy O’Connor: Having fun like I used to – it being so loud in the stores and the fluorescent lighting got to my eyes. I couldn’t wait to get home to my chihuahua and just destress. Not fun at all
- Leeroy Good: Losing the close relationship with my husband as I could no longer share everything with him. He does not understand chronic pain and does not want to hear about it . I had to learn that who you talk to about certain things is important and knowing who to share with is an art.
- Nikki Albert: Accept I was disabled
- Marjorie Mccluskey: Sleeping
- Lisa Kreimes: Having to give up my old self. The person that could do everything, and friends dropping like flies because they don’t understand why you can’t be who you once were.
- Lea Cheney: To fight the anxiety and depression
- Linzi Bee: I miss long dog walks so much .
- Susan Weber: Everything above. You all nailed it.
- Pamela Jessen: Accepting that my life was going to drastically change.
- Susan Pearson: Realising I am unlikely to have children. I still try and consider other options going forward but time is ticking away and windows are narrowing. All the rest are just frustrations in comparison to this.
As you can see, living with Chronic Pain causes your whole life to spiral out of control. Chronic Pain affects every aspect of your life – your relationships, your work, your hobbies, your freedom, your ability to make choices…that’s why it’s crucial to work with your healthcare team to find solutions that help you. Remember…
There Is Always Hope