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What Most People Don't Understand About Chronic Pain Conditions

What Most People Don't Understand About Chronic Pain Conditions

The most recent data regarding the prevalence of chronic pain in the United States the CDC published is from 2016. At that time, just over 20% — around 50 million people — of American adults had chronic pain. With an aging population, that number is likely higher now. However, even though so many people have chronic pain, there are widespread misconceptions about it, and most people simply don’t understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain. 

At The Painless Center, you can count on compassionate care from Dr. Jason Chiu and his staff. We know that you face particular challenges when you live with a chronic pain condition, whether it’s fibromyalgia, arthritis, complex regional pain syndrome, or another condition. 

This post discusses some things most people don’t understand about living with a chronic pain condition. 

It’s not temporary

Most people think they understand chronic pain because they’ve felt pain before. Everyone has had an injury or illness that caused pain. But, as you know all too well, having temporary discomfort is not the same as having pain day in and day out for years. 

When you know that you will heal and your pain will dissipate, you have a different outlook than when you know it won’t. For someone who doesn’t have a chronic pain condition, this can be difficult to understand. 

Pain affects everything

It can be difficult to understand that having joint pain affects your ability to concentrate or that chronic migraine can make enjoying a nice family dinner impossible. In other words, it’s hard to understand that chronic pain affects every part of your life. 

Your relationships can be challenging to navigate, social situations can be treacherous, and even your professional life can be impacted by the fact that you deal with pain constantly. People who don’t have chronic pain may not understand the effects of your condition. 

Stress makes it worse

Many people who have chronic pain conditions don’t realize that stress can make the pain worse or that pain can make it easier to feel distressed. The interaction between physical pain and mental stress can become a vicious cycle. 

Modern life is stressful. When people close to you don’t understand that increased stress leads to increased pain, you’re vulnerable to that pain-stress cycle. 

People with chronic pain have already tried it

If you have chronic pain, you’ve probably tried all sorts of things to get it to stop. Special diets, exercise, extra sleep, cleanses — people with good intentions who don’t understand chronic pain suggest them all. What they don’t understand is that you’ve probably already tried it. 

Many chronic pain conditions are incurable, which most people don’t fully understand. They read stories of “miracle” cures or cases and think you could be cured, too, if only you tried whatever they suggested.  

Pain isn’t visible

Another thing people often don’t understand is that a person with chronic pain isn’t visible. You can be in debilitating pain and look “normal.” Most people seem to think that there’s a particular way sick people look, but if you have a condition that causes chronic pain, you know that’s not true. 

We understand

Even though most people have some serious misunderstandings about what chronic pain is, why it happens, and what you should do, we know what you’re going through at the Painless Center. We can often help by teaching you techniques to deal with the pain or developing treatment plans designed to address your specific issues and fit your life. Schedule your appointment today.

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