The Impact of Chronic Pain
By: David Lechnyr, LCSW
Having chronic pain affects self-image, relationships and interrupts life plans. It constricts physical and emotional abilities. It’s frequently not understood or accepted by many people.
Often, the person with chronic pain can be judged harshly. Many report feeling angry that the pain and fatigue hinders them from the things they love to do. Since the symptoms of chronic pain tends to change from day to day, family members and friends sometimes struggle with understanding how their loved one can be so impaired one day and are able to do things the next day. They may say, I thought you were better!
Understanding the issue of how chronic pain impacts your life will go a long way in managing your chronic conditions better. Management is the key word. This is hard when we live in a world that is surrounded by the latest cure for this or that. We can’t believe that health care providers are not able to figure out how to fix our problems. Medical science has come a long way in understanding, but there is still a long way to go to find cures for many common disorders.
We can help with the acceptance process and get you back to your life. We help provide support, a listening ear, and problem-solving. We can teach skills to manage physical and emotional symptoms, along with learning to pace activities appropriately. Being in pain can be very stressful and lonely, and understanding and treating the anxiety or depression that chronic pain creates is important. There is hope! Behavioral health counselors are an important piece of the puzzle with managing chronic pain and/or insomnia. Your first appointment will clarify your wants, needs, desires, and goals.
Chronic pain has varying causes, unpredictable triggers, accompanying exhaustion and an unrelenting weight that impacts every aspect of life. It can cause depression, exhaustion and anxiety.
Those that suffer from chronic pain often experience pain in different ways: Stabbing, exhausting, terrifying, unbearable, agonizing, intense, miserable, shooting, and suffocating are just a few of the words used to describe one’s pain. Some describe it as a feeling, others as an emotion, and often we end up using both. This experience makes it difficult to do things, and what we’re able to accomplish, we either can’t finish or end up doing rather poorly.
When we are hurt, our nerves send signals to our brain telling us that we are experiencing pain. This is a good thing when it’s working normally; we don’t want to accidentally touch a hot stove and neglect to remove our hand. When it backfires, our nerves send out the signals of pain (phantom pain) or an intensified version of our pain. When it goes out of control, the cause of the pain becomes a secondary concern; the pain itself actually becomes a disease in and of itself.