Things To Remember About Chronic Pain Sufferers

Chronic pain is the pits! I say this because for over thirty years I have lived with it.

I have back pain from an on the job injury, and neck pain from too many rear-ender whiplashes. The neck injury causes my neck to sometimes feel like I have a vice-grip on it for hours on end or like I have an icepick stuck into my skull near the atlas. I get frequent headaches and at times debilitating migraines that not only rob my days, but take me at least one day to recover from afterwards.

Eight years ago, due to unfortunate circumstances, the back pain became much worse. Since then, my life has been measured, as chronic pain dictates my days.

For example: I can only stand for a very short period of time. Just the act of prolonged standing causes my back to throb. Though walking actually soothes my back.

I can only sit in certain chairs. Couches, soft, squishy, comfy chairs, and chairs without back support cause my back to ache or feel like it’s on fire after just sitting in them for a few minutes. I have not been able to sit on my own couch or love seat for years.

I have a “granny cushion” I don’t like but have to take with me on outings or on trips just in case the only chair available is one I can barely tolerate, as there are many of those out there.

What makes life even harder for people who live with chronic pain is when their friends and family don’t understand that because a person looks fine on the outside, it doesn’t mean it is impossible for them to be suffering with severe physical pain on the inside.

Here are things to remember about chronic pain sufferers:

1 If we look like we are in pain, we probably are. Please don’t keep asking us, especially in public, if were okay over and over.

2 We don’t always want to keep talking about how much we are hurting, but because we are not talking about it, it doesn’t mean we are not hurting.

3 When the pain is bad, we may be impatient or grumpy or we may be unusually quiet. Or, we may be all three.

4 If we have a migraine and tell you we want to be left alone, please honor that and don’t keep asking us how we are doing or what you can do for us. We appreciate your concern, though.

5 A migraine or severe pain saps every ounce of energy from our being. Sometimes all we can get out is a whisper. So please listen carefully when we say something to you, don’t make us keep having to repeat it over and over.

6 We really want to have fun and enjoy a healthy life like yours. We want to be the fun person you want us to be, but when we are hurting, we just can’t. Please understand that.

7 Remember, when you look at us and we look just fine, it doesn’t always mean we are just fine at all.

8 We understand that because we do look “just fine” on the outside, you will often forget that we exist with chronic pain. Please know we usually only tell you we are hurting when it’s pretty bad, most of the time we just tolerate it and don’t say anything.

9 We don’t want your life to stop just because ours has, but it would be great if you showed us compassion and understanding.

10 There are those of us who prefer to live our lives naturally without lots of pharmaceuticals, and don’t want to take pills that cause such terrible side effects that we require more pills for the side effects , that then require even more pills. Please don’t keep asking us why we are not taking this or that.

11 When we are in pain and we are grumpy or snappy, we still love you. We are just terribly frustrated with our own situation. Please don’t ever forget this one.

12 Simple things like long church worship services, standing in line or sometimes just standing and talking can be excruciating if we are hurting. So if you see us sitting down during worship while everyone else is standing, don’t think we are being rude or disrespectful to God. Prolonged standing that causes excruciating pain, takes away any “worshiping” we may desire to do.

13 Sometimes we just prefer to stay home by ourselves when we hurt.

14 Sometimes we don’t feel much like talking or being social when we hurt.

15 We know it’s a bummer and frustrating for you also when we hurt. Please don’t make us feel guilty about hurting.

16 If we have a migraine and tell you to hurry and get us a bucket because we are going to throw up, please don’t stand there asking us if we really need a bucket or if we are sure we are going to throw up. Just get the darn thing before we make a huge mess!

17 Please keep in mind that when we are in a lot of pain, we have absolutely zero interest in sex.

18 Sometimes we hurt so much we can only cry. Please just be there for us, you don t even have to say one word. But if you do, don’t tell us you know how it feels or that it will be okay. When we feel like ten thousand knives are slicing through our bodies, we doubt you really know how we feel and we know we won’t be okay anytime soon.

19 We don’t want you to feel sorry for us. We just want you to be understanding, compassionate and loving.

20 If we had a thousand choices, chronic pain would never be one of them. Most of us would love for you to pray with us or for us.

21 If we have to cancel an engagement or postpone something because we are hurting, please don’t make us feel as if we are just using our pain as an excuse.

I have good days. Sometimes, I even have several good days in one week.

Trust me, you would not want to live this kind of life, so be patient and understanding of those who do.

From all of us pain sufferers, a big THANK YOU!

I write these from experience. If you think of any I have missed, please feel free to share! Thanks!

By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013 ©


Filed under Inner Sruggles and Heartache, Life with Chronic Pain

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