Chronic pain is much more than “pain alone”

People often do not understand what it is like to live with fibromyalgia and other invisible chronic diseases that cause chronic pain. They have experienced regular pain in their lives; Almost everyone has experienced it, somehow, but they have never had to deal with lasting pain. Actually, I tried to look for the “official” labels for the different types of pain I felt with this condition, but I couldn’t find a label with a description suitable for all of them. I found technical descriptions and sometimes patient descriptions, but nothing that was completely accurate.

Chronic pain is very different from the average pain. It can vary from mild to severe, but even the slightest chronic pain may be more difficult to manage in the long term than acute or short-term pain. It is relentless, stalking you endlessly until you scream, cry and despair of feeling relief, which makes it very difficult to perform even the simplest tasks. Some days, we celebrate simply from our bed to the sofa because it is really very difficult to do that day. The pain probably prevented a restful sleep; And don’t forget all the other symptoms that accompany these diseases.

Extreme fatigue, nausea, cognitive problems, migraines, sensitivity to light, sounds, smells, touch and movement. The list is long. Pain is also not just a type of pain. I guess that would be too easy. No, pain likes to take many forms. Many times, multiple forms at the same time. It’s wonderful … please read this with all the sarcasm you can muster, because it’s definitely not fun in any way.

By feeling my own pain and by interviews with other people with fibromyalgia, the following types of pain seem to be common with our condition:

Musculoskeletal pain   : it feels like a deep and painful sensation, beyond the flu that creeps through my body and settles, sometimes for weeks or months at a time.

Nervous pain   : I have written it before, and I must repeat it: nervous pain is the devil. It is tortuous and can make you feel crazy because you will swear that your body is on fire. It is the worst stabbing pain, itching and burning you can imagine. It’s like burning a piece of red-hot metal, but you can’t do ANYTHING to calm it down. I always look at any part of the body that is happening to me, trying to convince me that I am NOT on fire or melting. It is a kind of mental trick.

Pressure pain   : my own label because I still have to find a suitable “official” label. It can come in two different forms. You can feel a boy in my whole body, feel that I am sitting in a van and then run over me several times. You feel heavy, almost unable to move, as if your body is being pressed. The second type appears at random, apparently wherever you want, feeling that suddenly an arrow has pierced you. Usually, it is in a round point of 2 “-4”, and beats with intense pain, but sharp and sharp, from 4 seconds to 20 minutes. It fades after a while, leaving a strange pain behind.

Joint pain   : Many people are already familiar with this type of pain, whether from general aging or arthritis. It can feel like a sharp prick through the joint, or a deep pain in the bone of the joint.

Inflammation   :   I include   this because it rarely causes pain. It can cause it to swell, causing another type of pressure, causing you to feel that your body will explode. Many times, medications don’t seem to help, and stiffness builds up, making it difficult to walk without feeling like a stick figure. Read also The pet scan shows that fibro patients have inflammation in the brain.

 Surgical procedures / pain for medical treatment   : Oh, yes, the things that are supposed to help us can often increase our pain, making things even more stressful. There are so many different pains that this can cause that it is impossible to describe them all, but I will call it “healing pain.”

TMJ / jaw / pain in the face   : it seems that we also have this in common. Either by defective teeth of the conditions themselves or by medications to treat them; or inflammation in the connective tissues of the jaw, we can have acute pain in the face. It can be unbearable, take all the self-control that I don’t have to scream. All those pains that constantly bombard us, along with the long list of other symptoms, make simple daily activities much more difficult for us than the average person.

In an attempt to help explain the differences, I have compiled a list of some normal activities that almost everyone has to do at some point. After each activity, I described how people with chronic pain can feel.

  • 1.    Just take a shower   : it can feel as if we had run a couple of miles at the end of a very long day, and then we jumped into the shower. We are exhausted and we can barely move when it ends.
  • 2.    Go outdoors in a climate above 75 °   : instantly, it seems that we have actually spent 8 hours doing difficult jobs at more than 100 ° or more. It is almost impossible to stay alert because heat drains every ounce of energy in seconds.
  • 3.    When the temperature is below 40 °   , it feels instantly as if we had been submerged, naked, in an ice bath. The pain is acute, severe and even bone.
  • 4.    After going to a club or concert, DO NOT drink   , it feels as if we had gone to bless during the spring break and we woke up on the first sober day.
  • 5.    Get a bruise   : it feels like you are shot by an arrow.
  • 6.    Two hours a day   , you may feel that we have already been awake for three days in a row.
  • 7.    Doing gardening for an hour   usually feels like we are digging holes for 8 hours.
  • 8.    Driving in a vehicle   : it feels like being in a derby demolition race that takes place on a ship, in the middle of a storm.
  • 9.    Attending a sporting event as a spectator   (we seem to play the game ourselves) and it was a contact sport.
  • 10.    Wash some dishes   : it feels as if you had worked an 8-hour shift as a dishwasher.

At least one of those things should give you an idea of ​​the difference in the energy you take and the pain it causes so we can do things compared to the average person. In fact, I can remember a time when these things were also much easier for me. Prior to. Before dealing with all the pain, symptoms, exhaustion, emotional struggles and relationship problems caused by having an invisible chronic disease. Before it was impossible to live a normal and active life.

We do not choose to make it harder for us to make our bodies do what others can easily do, so try to understand when we are slower, we cannot go out, or we cook dinner, or anything else that can be expected. of us. For my fellow patients who suffer from chronic pain, it is difficult. It is real, and not only in your head. It is exhausting and tries to break us, but we are stronger. We fight every day. We have courage, strength, courage and compassion. Keep fighting. Find something to give it a purpose if it feels useless. A career does not determine its value, just as its condition does not define it unless allowed.


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