23 Things People With Chronic Pain Want You To Know – BuzzFeed News

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1. Chronic
pain can include various types of debilitating pain
all over your body.

Chronic pain can include various types of debilitating pain all over your body.

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“Chronic pain is one second feeling like you’re
being stabbed in the back, the next like your bones
are poking one of your internal organs, then your
brain is getting hit with a hammer, and so on.
Sometimes I forget that there’s pain in one area
until it’s moved to another part of my body at a
different intensity. It’s sharp, then dull, then
crushing. It’ll be your skin, then your bones, then
your lungs, and it just keeps changing.”


ID: 10176023

2. And it can
completely disrupt your normal functioning.

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“When I’m having a particularly bad flare-up and my
body is overwhelmed with pain, it’s like my brain
starts flipping switches off: my hearing usually
goes first, then my ability to feel different
temperatures, then my speech and motor skills, then
my sight gets blurry. Finally, I pass out.”


ID: 10176033

3. It’s 100%
real, and you shouldn’t say otherwise.

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“Please know that when you doubt someone with
chronic pain, it can make them doubt themselves.
Sometimes I think, ‘Well, if my doctor, friend, or
family member is saying that I’m making this up,
maybe I am. And that is ridiculous because the pain
is strong and real.”

—Georgia Nagel, Facebook

ID: 10175958

4. For some,
it hurts 24/7, 365 days a year.

For some, it hurts 24/7, 365 days a year.

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“I feel like the word ‘chronic’ loses its meaning
when people are talking about chronic pain. People
don’t realize that I literally have a headache
every single second of the day. Chronic doesn’t
just mean most of the time!”


ID: 10175971

5. And
because of that, it skews your view of what a
typical pain tolerance looks like.

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“Your pain scale shifts when you have chronic pain.
When doctors ask what your pain is on a scale of
1-10 (as they recently did when I had an elbow
injury), I had to ask, ‘your 1-10 or mine?’”


ID: 10176001

6. It’s more
than just physical — it affects your mental health,

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“I think the hardest part has been being locked in
my house all the time and being distanced from my
friends. My lack of social interaction is hard and
has led me to develop depression, which I think
happens a lot with chronic pain.”


ID: 10176083

It does not discriminate by age.

“I’m living with arthritic ankle and hip joints that
most doctors have only seen in patients twice my age.
It doesn’t care what age you are, or that you’re ‘way
too young’ to know what advanced arthritis feels
like. I do know, and I struggle with it on a daily


ID: 10176040

8. There are
~good~ days and there are bad ones.

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“When bad days hit, they don’t discriminate.
Sometimes I can drink beer, eat pizza and not work
out and I feel fine the next day. Other days I take
two hot baths, do yoga, take my (prescribed) pain
meds, eat all the good foods and still feel like


ID: 10176086

9. Unless
you’re a doctor, it’s better that you don’t give

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“If people could just stop recommending miracle
substances in general, that’d be great. Or telling
me to work out more. Or suggesting I just need
needles in my face or suction cups on my back, or
to ‘just relax.’ I’ve heard it all. I’ll, instead,
defer to a trained medical professional and my
physical therapist.”


ID: 10175980

10. Many
doctors won’t take the pain seriously, or they
won’t do enough to treat it.

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“It’s hard to have doctors who brush off looking
into the issue because it’s just ‘pain,’ without
considering how bad it might be. Sure, my MRI or
X-ray might not show a problem that day, but it
doesn’t mean there’s no problem or no pain. It’s
terrible to be told by a doctor that you have a
‘successful knee’ when it still hurts to walk and
go up and down stairs.”


ID: 10175990

11. Surgery
and medication don’t always help.

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“I’ve had extremely painful periods since high
school. The pain got so bad. Five doctors and many
years later, I was diagnosed with one of the most
severe cases of endometriosis my new doctor has
seen. I’ve had had two surgeries in four years and
been on medication that’s put me through menopause
twice. I still have constant pain every day.”


ID: 10176048

Everything might seem fine, but it’s not.

Everything might seem fine, but it's not.

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“It’s hard because everyone says I look fine or I
seem healthy. On the outside I’m great, but inside,
my body is trying to destroy itself. I’ve gotten
really good at hiding my pain and faking smiles but
there are days I can’t get out of bed ‘til noon.”


ID: 10176051

13. Flaking
on plans is a pretty consistent thing, but it’s not
for a lack of trying.

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“People forget very quickly that despite your age
and the invisibility of symptoms, that doesn’t mean
you don’t have it. A lot of life with chronic pain
is also living with the disappointment on someone’s
face when you have to back out of plans, or leave
early to go home because sitting up hurts too much
right now.”

—Melissa Croft, Facebook

ID: 10175957

14. And you
shouldn’t stop trying, either.

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“I wish people knew that just because I don’t
always have the energy or motivation to socialize
doesn’t mean I don’t still want an invitation —
just in case I’m having a good day. I can’t ever
predict it. And you shouldn’t stop trying to engage
with me. I need to feel loved even if I can’t
always participate.”


ID: 10176061

15. Sometimes
it’s better to talk about something else.

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“I’m 25 and I walk with a cane. Please don’t stop
me in the middle of my day to ask me about how I’m
feeling. Stopping to acknowledge how much pain I’m
in, or just how drained I feel, ruins all the great
compartmentalizing I’ve been working on.”


ID: 10176068

16. Even
simple, everyday tasks can be incredibly difficult
with chronic pain.

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“I have gotten sores before on my shoulders from
constant turning over and over during each night
because of pain. Simple things like brushing my
teeth or bathing are hard, and require extra mental
and physical effort. Even lifting myself out of a


ID: 10176045

17. It can be
hard to hold down a job

It can be hard to hold down a job

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“Working a full-time job is taxing on the body, and
the pain causes ‘brain fog’ and migraines, which
makes it hard to concentrate or retain information.
Not to mention the depression and anxiety you get
from your nerve endings being out of whack,
constantly tolerating the pain.”


ID: 10175954

18. And
sometimes it can make you second-guess your goals.

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“My dreams seem unattainable when I’m so physically
incapacitated and have a dependency on medication.”


ID: 10176079

19. It’s not
that anyone’s else’s pain isn’t real, but
please don’t compare it to chronic pain.

It's not that anyone's else's pain isn't real, but please don't compare it to chronic pain.

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“I have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome,
and one of my symptoms is a constant headache. It
never stops. It’s not that you can’t complain about
pain to someone who has chronic pain, but please be
respectful of how I’m feeling.”


ID: 10176055

20. It’s
exhausting, even when you’re not really doing

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“On the bad days, just existing leaves you feeling
drained. Even if you do nothing but lay down and
surf the web, you can still feel as tired as if you
went out and did stuff all day.”


ID: 10176063

21. And it
makes it difficult to maintain relationships.

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“I wish my husband could understand that I’m not
lazy, or upset, or just tired if tasks don’t get
done or we don’t have sex. I wish he knew that
‘drinking more water’ or trying fad diets won’t
magically cure autoimmune diseases or trauma from a
car crash.”


ID: 10176065

22. And
finally, it’s not something to joke about.

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“I once had a co-worker tell me that I only
‘suffer’ from fibromyalgia when I don’t feel like
working. The fact that some people think I’m lying
or exaggerating about my pain hurts worse than all
the shit I have to deal with on a daily basis.”


ID: 10176071

23. Your
support won’t take the pain away, but it helps.

Your support won't take the pain away, but it helps.

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“It would mean the world if you take time to read
up, question, and follow-up with to doctors on MRIs
or X-rays or treatments. Being sick is hard and
being in the hospital so often is hard. Being alone
with it all is hard. Call, text, or send emails.
Just let them know they’re not alone.”

—Erica Drewke, Facebook

ID: 10175969

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