Myths About Chronic Pain We're Busting This Pain Awareness Month
Do you ever wake up with a sore back or stiff neck? Maybe you have some soreness throughout your body thanks to that killer workout you did the other day? Pain like this is normal, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t experience this at least a couple of times throughout your life. So what do we mean when we say that we have chronic pain? When someone has chronic pain, they have to meet the following criteria:
- Have pain that has lasted at least six months at a minimum
- And have been sick or injured and the pain just never went away
One of the things that are most alarming about chronic pain is that you can develop it somewhere throughout your body even if you haven’t previously been sick or injured. So for some, it can just be a random draw of chance. The unfortunate thing about chronic pain is that it can remain active in your nervous system for various amounts of time. So if you were to seek medical attention, it is very likely that your medical provider will only be able to give you an estimated amount of time for how long your pain will last. They could only prescribe you some medication that you can take in order to keep your pain at a manageable level.
As you continue reading, you will learn about some of the myths out there revolving around the concept of Chronic Pain. So come along and learn about them!
7 Myths about Chronic Pain
1) Pain is just a part of aging
How many of you have heard that come out of others' mouths? Although this may seem like a logical thing to think, is actually a common misconception. Chronic pain doesn’t just target those who are older but actually impacts individuals in all walks of life.
2) Just tough it out, you’ll be fine
This is something a lot of us heard growing up whether we played sports or not. One can “tough” it out to an extent, but don’t be afraid to use medication or do different forms of therapy to help the painful part of your body. Will this make the pain go away completely? Unfortunately no, but it can make the pain you are having less substantial, which can help improve your movement throughout the day and allow you to carry on with your everyday life.
3) You’ll injure yourself if you exercise through the pain
Take a moment to reread the introduction to this page and this tip. That alone should somewhat give away how big of a myth this is. The reality is, if you are in pain and exercise, you will either still have the same pain you had going into the exercise, or feel a little bit of relief. A lot of this has to do with the fact that light exercises and physical therapy exercises can actually help soothe the pain you may have, as well as help boost your mood and your overall mental health.
4) You’ll become addicted to painkillers
Now with this particular myth, there is some news for you. Just because you get prescribed medication from your doctor to help with the pain doesn’t mean that you will automatically become addicted to painkillers. Individuals who take painkillers for chronic pain are just as likely as anyone else to become addicted to painkillers. They don’t automatically become addicted just because they take them. Factors for addiction to drugs are typically due to the following contributing factors:
- Family History/Genetics
- Mental health disorder
- Peer pressure
- Lack of family involvement in life
- Early introduction/use
- Taking a highly addictive drug: hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, etc.
5) Medication will fix it
As wishful thinking as this is, unfortunately, medications aren’t the end all be all cure to chronic pain. Although there is currently no cure for chronic pain, there are a number of resources, including medications, that can help decrease the pain you experience. It just all depends on how severe of a case you may have. Some of the other things you can do to help with your level of pain include acupuncture to the area in pain, electrical stimulation to help with blood flow into the damaged area, physical therapy, and nerve blockers to help decrease the pain in a particular area, and in some severe cases, surgery may be used.
6) Life is less fulfilling
Just reading this myth, you must realize how untrue this is. Despite having chronic pain a number of people are able to live a normal life. It all wraps back around how one looks at their situation. You can choose to let the chronic pain you have dramatically affect you, or you can choose to continue on with your life the best that you can. It really all comes down to your overall perspective. Find a way to look at the positive things in life that you have going for you instead of sitting there and focusing on just the pain that you are feeling.
7) It’s easy to find out where the chronic pain came from
If you are having chronic pain all you need to do is go to the doctor; after all, they have the answers to everything right? Sadly, no. Doctors are human just like the rest of us and although it is easy for us to think that they will be able to answer all of our questions regarding our health, sometimes they can be stumped for the causes of things too. Now, don’t allow this information to discourage you, if you go to your doctor they will do everything within their power to try and help you determine what has increased your pain, as well as a way to help and lessen it.
These are just a few of the many myths out there about chronic pain. After reading this hopefully, you walk away with the knowledge that chronic pain can occur at any point in your life and that you shouldn’t automatically assume people are lying or being over dramatic when they discuss the amount of pain they may be in.