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Painful myths

When you hear about chronic pain, what do you think? I know that when I heard about chronic pain, it used to have a very different meaning. There were myths which haven't proven true for me, and those myths have impacted my healing and how I learned to live with pain. For good? For bad? I don't know if I will ever know. Here are some of those, and what I've learned:

"If you were a better person, you wouldn't be in so much pain."
The truth is that pain rarely has anything to do with the quality of one's character. If you get a condition because you broke your hand smacking up your spouse or random person on the street, then yes, doing something hurtful and morally questionable may be contributing, but otherwise, don't torture yourself. Ask the simple question of "are you doing the best you can to live well?" That said, people are not always determined by their actions. Doing something "bad" doesn't mean you are a "bad person."

People with chronic pain are just in it for the drugs.
Some people do try to claim to be in pain for the drugs. But if you're really in pain and do need medication, it's no different than any other medical condition. It's a very complex condition, and there are differences in how each person responds to pain and its treatments, but someone who doesn't know your history and who has no medical training is likely more concerned with the one experience they had with Vicodin where they were woozy.

The depth of the injury is the depth of the pain.
Not really. You'll find that pain is a weird sensation in that it's not always very accurate. There's referred pain, the gait control theory and tons of other challenges. And if that doesn't confuse you enough, just remember that we're disscovering new problems every day, so what doesn't look like an injury may some day be found to be one.

Everyone should get their pain to be non-existant.
Well, ideally, I'd love to see chronic pain irradicated, but I think pain has some benefitss, such as the fact that if it didn't hurt to hammer your thumb, you'd never know to stop.

Pain is simple, it hurts or it doesn't.
I wish! There are tons of different ways things can hurt, burning, tingling, cold, achy, stabbing etc.

The last myth: "This is a definitive source on dealing with pain."
Not on your life!


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Dec. 14th, 2007 01:15 pm (UTC)
Really interesting take on this topic.
Dec. 14th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
Very Nicely done. Great take on the topic at hand.

I have semi-chronic pain from arthritis and I am happy for what I call "the dull roar". I can't remember a totally pain free day in a long time.
Dec. 14th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with chronic pain too. It's no fun, at all. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Dec. 14th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
Really good take on this.
Dec. 14th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Dec. 15th, 2007 07:39 am (UTC)
I wouldn't mind seeing chronic pain stomped into the ground never to return again
But I've got so many things wrong with me that cause me pain it isn't funny. If you figure out a way to stamp it out of existence, ring me up. I'll help.

Definitely not where I would expect someone to go with this topic. Thank you for debunking some myths!
Dec. 15th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC)
"If you were a better person, you wouldn't be in so much pain."

People really say this? Oh dear God! That makes me want to curl up indoors and never come out again... What delightful creatures us humans are...

Apart from that, excellent food for thought.

Dec. 15th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
::gentle hugs::

Nice take on the topic. You made a clear point, but it probably touched me more than it might others because of my own experience with chronic pain.

Good job!
Dec. 15th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Woot! Nice entry. Having RA I can relate to that. Interestingly enough, I'm not hopped up on an ass-ton of drugs. Mine is still 'early stage' and the few meds I've tried are really geared for more advanced conditions so they wound up overpowering my system and actually made me feel worse.

And you're totally right; pain is not simple. I measure mine in degrees of 'how bad does it feel today?'
Dec. 17th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
This needed said. I have a chronic pain syndrome, origin unknown. I have struggled for years with the judgments of other people ranging from speculating on what I "did" to get this way to simply saying that I'm faking for various reasons.

Sometimes I think I contribute to the myth. I'm so used to being in pain that things which would normally have others screaming and writhing don't bother me as much. It has to be pretty bad before I'll reach for my prescribed painkillers but what I define as "bad" would be crippling in a normal human being.
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