Chronic pain symptoms can be seen in numerous conditions. Firstly, chronic pain is defined by the National Institute of Health as, “any pain lasting more than 12 weeks.” Generally, occasional acute pain is a normal occurrence that typically will show an injury or bodily upset. Persistent pain can be caused by an initial injury, diabetes, migraine, arthritis, fibromyalgia, shingles, sciatica, cancer and a variety of other illnesses and injuries. Each of these conditions can cause many chronic pain symptoms.
“Chronic Pain is like your own special prison.” ~ A Chronic Pain Sufferer, Age 27
Chronic pain can take a toll on an individual’s emotional health and can cause sleep disturbances, changes in mood, lack of appetite, reduced flexibility, and fatigue. Even fun activities can be difficult to enjoy. This can cause a patient to feel very depressed.
It is important that when a doctor is treating chronic pain they must treat the underlying cause and the pain and addressing the patient’s emotional well being or health.
“It is complex, limiting, and upsetting.” A Chronic Pain Patient, Age 46
Chronic Pain Symptoms
- Chronic Fatigue
- Inability to Complete Activities of Daily Living
- Weakened Immune System
- Depression and Hopelessness
- Irritability and Anger
- Limited Mobility
- & More
Chronic Pain Treatments
- Electrical Stimulation
- Nerve Blocks
- Light Exercise
- & More
“My pain makes me feel as if I am 75.” A Chronic Pain Patient, Age 22
Pain that lingers from an injury, illness, or by other means, is exhausting and distressing. If you are dealing with a loved one who has chronic pain, it is important to be supportive of his or hers situation.
One thing you can do as a loved one is listen and learn. Chronic pain sufferers will tell you how they are feeling and often know what genuinely works for them and what can make them worse. Taking the time to just support a pain patient emotionally can help them more than you would expect.
The Pain Scale
Another thing that can help your loved one is to understand what their pain scale represents to them.
0-3 is mild/no pain as if they had gotten a scrape or cut.
4-6 on the pain scale is moderate pain meaning they may require more rest than usual. They can still do things, but would rather not.
7-9 is severe pain, as if you had broken your leg and it interferes with normal daily activities such as sleeping, showering, and so forth.
10 is the worst pain imaginable.
Understanding the pain scale and how your loved one relates to it will help the situation.
Understanding your Pain
Finally, another thing that helps is to recognize coping skills. Knowing if your loved one is self-medicating or not can be useful. Feeling awful can lead to a pit of depression and poor choices. Knowing the warning signs will help you keep your loved one safe.
The first step to helping your loved one is to understand the basic causes and effects of their chronic pain. Finding that balance between emotional and physical well-being can be difficult for a patient. It is important to remember, sometimes there are no words, you can only support your loved one by listening and validating his or her feelings and pain.