What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is simply pain that lasts a long time. It could be focal, which is localised to an area like the pelvic region or migraines, or diffused, which are in different areas of the body but could be from the same cause, like damage to the nervous system.
There could be various reasons that people have chronic pain: cancer and its treatment, an injury or surgery site, a medical condition. When there’s a clear cause for chronic pain, you’re one step closer to managing the pain. Pain management is complex, and most people realise by this point that the medical world is not an exact science. It’s all trial-and-error, trying to re-balance bodies and systems that were thrown askew.
There’s that unfortunate limbo state where you have unexplainable pain, and you keep going in for tests with different medical teams, and no conclusive diagnosis arrives. Or, there’s conclusive diagnosis but the treatment feels like trial-and-error and you feel like a test rabbit.
The impact of chronic pain on every day life
Chronic pain is often debilitating and impacts, mostly negatively, on people’s lives.
Suddenly or gradually, the person suffering from chronic pain finds themselves being able to do only three activities a day, instead of the usual five. They find themselves cancelling on events and appointments. They worry about appearing “flaky” to friends they’ve promised to hang out with and unreliable to clients they’ve agreed to deliver work to.
Chronic pain is not only disruptive for the person suffering from chronic pain, but also their families, friends and wider social network. Family and friends may feel like the person suffering from chronic pain is not pulling their weight in the household or relationship.
Over time, it’s not only the physical limitations that we have to deal with, but also the emotional distress, anxiety and possible depression that comes with it.
Read on about how we started Code Red from our personal chronic pain journey and how to support yourself or a loved one suffering from chronic pain.