Dispel Chronic Pain Myths & Learn More About Those Living With pain
To the outside world, chronic pain is a mysterious thing. It has a variety of causes and symptoms, it’s difficult to diagnose, it can be excruciating one day and tolerable the next, and it often comes with no visible signs. Because of this, chronic pain is incredibly misunderstood by people who have never experienced it.
Most chronic pain sufferers know firsthand the misleading stigmas that surround this condition. We’ve listed five of the most common chronic pain myths, and we are setting the record straight.
Chronic Pain Myth #1: People with chronic pain are lazy
Even with the help of therapy, medication, and treatments, chronic pain comes with good days and bad days. At times, pain can be so severe that it forces chronic pain sufferers to sacrifice activities they used to enjoy in order to rest. Unfortunately, people often perceive this recuperation time as laziness or just making up excuses to get out of things.
Truth: Chronic pain is exhausting! While physical therapy and gentle exercise can be beneficial, it is so important to listen to your body when you are in pain. People with chronic pain typically exert more energy to complete simple daily tasks others take for granted, like getting dressed in the morning or walking up a flight of stairs. Chronic pain sufferers must learn to respect their own limitations and capabilities out of necessity, not laziness.
Chronic Pain Myth #2: Chronic pain is a normal sign of aging
As we age, our joints and muscles can develop persistent aches and pains. Sometimes people experiencing chronic pain write it off as a normal sign of aging, but this is not the case. More often than not, chronic pain is caused by injuries, nerve damage, or a variety of medical conditions.
Truth: According to a recent study, 46.7% of people with chronic pain are between the ages of 18 and 59 years old. If you begin to experience debilitating and persistent pain, don’t assume that it is part of the aging process. There are many therapies and treatments for chronic pain to keep you active and thriving as you age. For more information, check out our aging-related pain infographic.
Chronic Pain Myth #3: Making healthier choices will cure chronic pain
There are many alternative therapies to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain including yoga, massage therapy, an anti-inflammatory diet, and regular exercise. However, while these methods can help, they do little to combat the root of the pain.
Truth: Chronic pain can be caused by a traumatic injury, car accident, auto-immune disease, wear and tear, and other medical conditions. It’s important to consult a pain management doctor to find the proper treatment and therapy plan for your pain. While a healthy lifestyle won’t make matters worse, it is unlikely that it will cure your pain.
Chronic Pain Myth #4: If it’s undiagnosed pain, then it must not be real
Chronic pain sufferers often struggle for years without a diagnosis, trying treatment after treatment without any success at relieving their pain. It can be frustrating to try to explain a nameless pain to family, friends, and coworkers, often sparking skepticism at whether the pain is real at all.
Truth: Just because a pain isn’t diagnosed, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Chronic pain is complex, and it requires specialized doctors to diagnose. Having a support system and treatment plan in place can make all the difference for someone struggling with ongoing and debilitating pain.
Chronic Pain Myth #5: All chronic pain sufferers take opioids
The use of opioids is a common treatment for chronic pain, but it is not the only option. Too often, chronic pain sufferers are presented few options to combat their pain and resort to medication or surgery for relief. However, medication only works to alleviate pain and discomfort. It doesn’t actually target the root of the pain.
Truth: There are so many interventional pain management treatments that don’t involve surgery or medication. With the proper treatment, people with chronic pain can experience pain relief without the side effects or risks of medication.
Living with chronic pain is tough enough. Dealing with the stigmas surrounding chronic pain is an added frustration that people shouldn’t have to endure.