“Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.” (Chronic Pain: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment, 2011)
Living with chronic pain takes a toll on a person. Not just a physical toll, but emotionally and spiritually. It changes who you are on such a radical level that it becomes difficult to relate the person you are now versus the person you were before chronic pain. Since pain signals can remain active in our nervous system for months or years, and because there is such a variance in intensity and length the emotional toll can sometimes feel more burdensome than the physical pain.
If you know or love someone who lives with chronic pain, be patient with them. As inconvenient as their chronic pain is for you, it is a million times more cumbersome for them. They carry that burden daily, minute by minute. It becomes the focus of their very existence. Pain is subjective so what is mild to me may be excruciating for you. What is an inconvenience to you may totally incapacitate me. It plays havoc on your body in so many ways, causing fatigue, compromised sleep patterns, a weakened immune system, psychological issues like depression, stress, fear and an overwhelming feeling of help and hopelessness. It can cause total disability coupled with a need to rest more often, which may cause one to become withdrawn. Be patient. Be kind. Treat them with love. Trust me, if they had a choice they would not choose to live with chronic pain, but the choice is out of their hands. Even with pain interventions, pain management, physical therapy and life style changes those pesky pain receptors constantly stay turned up to high.
Chronic Pain: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment. (2011). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from National Library of Medicine: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/spring11/articles/spring11pg5-6.html