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The 5 things you should know about chronic pain from BecomePainFree.com

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Only sufferers of chronic pain know the implications of pain in every aspect of life. Family members and friends of someone with chronic pain may sympathize to some extent, but it’s difficult to truly understand how chronic pain affects someone. If you have a friend or family member suffering from chronic pain — whether caused by an accident or injury, or another health condition such asfibromyalgia — use these tips to understanding chronic pain to help you be most supportive to your loved one.

1.Don’t pass chronic pain off as “all in your head.” People who suffer from chronic pain are rarely fabricating or exaggerating their symptoms. Conditions causing chronic pain can make an individual truly miserable. Many cases of chronic pain are difficult to diagnose, and thus management and treatment is far more challenging than in cases of acute pain, where the source of pain is easily diagnosed.

2.Chronic pain is different from acute pain. Acute pain lasts for a brief period of time, perhaps following an injury or accident. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is persistent and can even be permanent. We have all felt acute pain at some point in time, but only those with chronic pain know what it is to be in pain constantly.

3.Chronic pain may be caused by or the cause of other health conditions. Difficulty sleeping and depression are two conditions that often plague sufferers of chronic pain. Chronic pain can create a vicious cycle for the sufferer, for example: chronic pain leads to sleep disturbances, whereas lack of sleep can exacerbate chronic pain. The same is true of depression; it can be caused by or the cause of some chronic pain symptoms.

4.Every person’s pain is different. We all experience and express pain differently. Some people may be more tolerant of pain in specific parts of the body, while other people may express discomfort with pain in the same area or caused by the same condition.

5.Chronic pain is emotionally exhausting. Imagine that you are in pain or don’t feel good for months or years on end, with no relief. Constant pain wears on the emotions and can lead to depression and anger. Treatment for chronic pain often means treating each symptom and effect of that pain, including mental health issues such as depression.

Chronic pain is a lonely condition. If someone you know or love is suffering from chronic pain, don’t try to compare their pain to your own experiences, or assume their pain is all made up. Rather, offer your care and support. Be willing to listen when they need to talk and supportive throughout treatment programs.

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