Blair Shares

Chronic Pain

We have all experienced physical pain at some time. Stubbing a toe or catching a finger in a drawer just plain hurts. A well placed sliver or paper cut is no joke. Pain hurts, sorry Dalton but it really does. Most often when we experience an injury and there is pain, the pain subsides through the healing process. When we experience trauma that leaves us with long or life lasting symptoms associated with pain, we may have to live with unending pain, Chronic Pain.

How we manage our pain is different for everyone, we each have our own thresholds of tolerance for types of pain and the severity level that we are able to withstand and for what duration. Doctors like to use a Numeric Analog Scale to track and understand the pain level we are dealing with. It is a simple scale starting at Zero being no pain and ending with Ten being the worst pain you have experienced. Well the zero is easy, the ten , the worst pain, that is difficult. The silent scream that follows slamming your finger in a door is a good indication of the severity of the pain, some may say a ten. Being sent to your knees while passing kidney stones with searing spikes running from your lower back to your abdomen, that could rate as a ten. Of course child birth has to be a ten. How about the pain that is so bad that you have to fight yourself not to jump out of a moving vehicle? Or the pain in your head that has reached a level that makes you want to reach inside your skull to stop it, that has to be a ten. When you are able to tolerate severe levels of pain that meet or exceed the high end of a scale, where do you place your everyday tolerance levels on the scale? If someone is familiar with living with severe pain levels, then it should be understood that they are capable of managing the moderate to high pain levels out of shear necessity. A scale is only relevant when it is like measured against oneself or others with Chronic Pain and not as a general use scale. There needs to be a relationship between the top level Ten and the severity, duration and type of pain experienced, to give relevance to the rest of the scale.

Pain is exhausting and it can make it difficult to tolerate and manage as the day progresses. You can find yourself struggling to control emotions and interactions with others can become strained. Energy levels can become depleted, a decrease in ability to focus and an increase in anxieties and depression are associated with Chronic Pain.

Sometimes suicide is seen as a means to end suffering. Many suffer in silence. It’s easier to say “ I’m Okay “ , then it is to try to explain the depth of pain you are in or how much you are suffering. Chronic Pain is a risk factor that has been associated to suicide. Chronic Pain, depression and often substance abuse increases the possibility of suicide attempts. The losses to suicide in North American are in the tens of thousands annually and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized.

Pain hurts, it’s that simple, living with Chronic Pain is complicated. Tens of millions are suffering with Chronic Pain and its other related challenges. Chronic Pain affects physical and mental health, restricts mobility and daily activities and yet the fight to persevere continues.

2 comments

  1. Very well written. Very validating. Thank you for sharing Blair- you do this so well!

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