Chronic pain is difficult to explain to others. You may want to avoid telling even those you love, worried that they’ll think you are a hypochondriac or that you are exaggerating how you feel. It can help to ask them to go with you to a doctor visit, and seek your physician’s help in explaining your condition.
Chronic pain can result from a wide range of diseases and conditions. It might be caused by a condition such as fibromyalgia, for example, or by an occurrence in your life such as a severe work injury. Experts usually refer to it as “chronic” if you experience the pain for more than six months. In addition, chronic pain lingers: it isn’t something that you experience once every few weeks, for example, such as a migraine headache that you experience for a few days prior to your menstrual cycle.
If you have not been diagnosed yet, make time for a doctor’s appointment. You may think that there is “no cure.” However, in reality, your doctor may be able to suggest options to help you minimize your constant pain and thus improve the quality of your life. You’re worth taking the time to do so!
Your doctor might suggest that you see a specialist, such as someone who specializes in your condition or a pain specialist, as an expert may be able to offer techniques relevant to your own situation. Examples could range from alternative methods such as massage therapy to topical pain relievers to antidepressants.
In addition, you may want to talk with your doctor about changes in your lifestyle that might help you feel better. Depending on your condition, dietary modifications can ease some of your discomfort. If you find temporary relief in eating too many sweets or consuming bags of potato chips, be honest with your health care professional and ask for guidance. He or she might recommend a dietician or nutritionist who can help you to modify those habits.
Another factor for those suffering from chronic pain: sleep duration and quality. For example, you may be in bed for eight to nine hours, but experience frequent wakefulness, turning around, shifting positions, trying to ease your discomfort. You might be a light sleeper, dozing off, then being awakened by the smallest of sounds. Again, telling your physician about such issues can help you learn about possible solutions.
Check with your local hospitals and/or medical clinics to see if there are any support groups offered dealing with your condition. For example, a fibromyalgia support group that meets weekly can give you a place to vent your frustrations with your condition and learn what has helped others. It will make you feel less alone and give you the opportunity to help others while it helps you to manage your pain.