There are several chronic pain myths. These myths may make people hesitant to seek treatment or talk about their pain. Chronic pain affects as many as 100 million American adults, yet it’s still misunderstood by society. Chronic pain myths can be damaging to chronic pain sufferers and cause unnecessary irritability and stress. Let’s debunk some of the most common chronic pain myths.
Chronic Pain is a Mental Thing – One of the worse things you can tell a person suffering from chronic pain is it’s all in their head. The idea of a chronic pain sufferer just deciding to know longer feel pain by not thinking about it is a myth. It is a legitimate medical condition that needs to be treated by a professional physician trained to treat chronic pain. There are some chronic pain sufferers who look to meditation to ease the pain, but it cannot permanently cure a patient.
People Who Complain About Chronic Pain are Just Lazy – One day a person with chronic pain may be able to work and enjoy activities. The next, they may not be able to get out of bed. They aren’t being lazy or antisocial. Pain levels can fluctuate. Depending on their pain level, chronic pain can be incapacitating. Never assume people with chronic pain use their pain as an excuse to be lazy. If a person could instantly rid themselves of chronic pain to live a normal life, they would do it in a heartbeat.
People with Chronic Pain Don’t Want to Get Better – Who enjoys being in pain? The assumption is, chronic pain sufferers want to stay on disability or continue receiving financial compensation for a work-related injury or other pain. This is absolutely false.
Pain is Exaggerated – “Oh, the pain can’t be that bad.” Many believe chronic pain is exaggerated for sympathy. The truth is, many keep their pain to themselves. They don’t want to seem like complainers. Chronic pain sufferers try to live a normal life and work through their pain.
Ignore the Pain or Push Through It – Never ignore ongoing pain. It is best to see a specialist if pain persists. Tell someone to push through the pain is not equivalent to telling someone to push through the pain while exercising. People with chronic pain know their limits. Overdoing it can exacerbate pain.
All Chronic Pain Patients Use Opioids – There are several treatments for chronic pain patients besides opioids. Depending on the patient and their type of pain, topical compounds, anti-depressants or alternative treatments may be used for pain management.
Chronic Pain Means Constant Pain – Chronic pain patients have good and bad days. Most experience flare-ups. There are a variety of elements that may cause these flares. It is advised that people with chronic pain shouldn’t overexert themselves or be too stationary.
People with Chronic Pain are Simply Weak – This is the worst thing anyone can believe about chronic pain patients. This insinuates that their pain is somehow “less than” what they say. Experiencing chronic pain and seeking help is not weak. Many chronic pain sufferers keep their pain to themselves because they don’t want to burden anyone with their issue. Your closest friend or relative could be suffering from chronic pain and you would have no idea. Many suffer in silence when they don’t have to.
Pain is a Normal Part of Aging – Yes, our bodies change due to aging. It’s common for people to get some form of arthritis later in life, but it should not be pushed to the side as if not being important. If chronic pain begins to interfere with your life, please seek help to eliminate or reduce pain symptoms.
Having Chronic Pain is Their Fault – This is equivalent to blaming the victim. Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of things including hormone changes, traumatic injury, poor posture, or sometimes there are no visible causes.
If you know someone with chronic pain, please avoid assuming you know what they are going through. Chronic pain myths can be damaging to a patient’s psyche. If they open up to you about their pain, simply listen. Don’t try to tell them how to manage their pain.