Everyone must have experienced aches and pains. However, chronic pain is different from typical pain. It is long-lasting suffering to people.
The famous singer Lady Gaga was diagnosed with fibromyalgia years ago and she even had to cancel her concerts because of chronic pain. “People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke.” Lady Gaga told Vogue in an interview, “And it is every day waking up not knowing how you’re going to feel.” She felt irritating that people didn’t believe the pain from her fibromyalgia is real.
Actually, pain is a kind of important reaction of the nervous system that alerts you to possible injury. When you get hurt, pain signals will be sent from the injured area up to your spinal cord and your brain. This kind of pain will usually become less severe as the injury heals.
Chronic pain is not like the usual pain. With chronic pain, your body continues to send pain signals to your brain, even after your injury is cured. It is a pain that can last at least 12 weeks to even years.
There is a book called The Pain Wars: Fighting the devil called “Fibromyalgia”
This is the real story of the author’s journey fighting the chronic pain condition for years. The Japanese man has been struggling with the pain and suffered so many losses due to this pain.
We should have a better understanding of this disease and be more compassionate to those who are suffering from this pain like Lady Gaga and the author of “The Pain Wars”.
What is Chronic Pain?
How Do You Feel Chronic Pain?
The feeling of pain comes from a series of signals that zip through your nervous system. When you get hurt, your injury area turns on pain sensors. They will send an electrical signal that travels from nerve to nerve and finally reaches your brain. Your brain processes the signal and notices that you are injured.
Usually the signal stops once your wound is repaired because the cause of the pain is resolved. However, with the case of chronic pain, these nerve signals wouldn’t stop even after you’ve healed. They will be kept sending to the brain that you keep feeling unendurable pain.
Since chronic pain is long-lasting, it reduces your mobility, strength, and endurance. This would make it hard and suffering even to get through your daily routines.
What causes chronic pain?
Based on the study from the American Academy of Pain Medicine, there are more than 1.5 billion people in the world suffering from chronic pain. It is also the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States, that about 100 million Americans are having the pain.
It is said that chronic pain usually occurs after the nerves have been damaged. At first, the pain would be evoked by an initial injury. Due to the nerve damage, the pain signals wouldn’t stop and will make the pain more intense and long lasting. In these cases, the chronic pain would not be resolved even if the injury is healed.
However, some people have experienced chronic pain without any prior injury or obvious causes. The exact causes of this kind of chronic pain are still unknown yet.
The chronic pain may also be caused by some of these underlying health conditions as below:
- chronic fatigue syndrome: it is a complicated disorder that is characterized by extreme fatigue that sometimes comes with pain.
- endometriosis: it is a painful disorder that occurs when the endometrial tissue abnormally grows outside of the uterus. The issue may develop scar tissue and adhesions that will cause pain during menstrual periods.
- fibromyalgia: it is a long-term condition that causes chronic widespread pain in the muscles and bones.
- inflammatory bowel disease: it is a group of intestinal disorders that involve painful, chronic inflammation in the digestive tract.
- interstitial cystitis: it is a chronic disorder that causes bladder pressure and pelvic pain
- temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ): it is a group of painful symptoms on the jaw joints, jaw muscles and the areas around.
- vulvodynia: it is a kind of chronic vulva pain affects a woman’s outer genitals, with no specific cause
Symptoms of Chronic pain
Chronic pain may feel from mild to severe, sharp or dull, causing a burning or aching feeling in the affected areas. It may be steady and continue for a long period or just come and go without any apparent signs.
Chronic pain can develop in almost any part of your body. And you may feel different extent of pain in the various affected areas. The pain can feel like burning, shooting, throbbing, dull ache, soreness or stiffness, etc.
Some of the most common types of chronic pain include:
- arthritis pain
- post-trauma pain
- cancer pain
- postsurgical pain
- lower back pain
- neurogenic pain (pain occurred from nerve damage)
- psychogenic pain
For some cases, pain is not just the only symptom. There can be also other symptoms including:
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Lack of appetite
- Insomnia or trouble sleep well
- Frustration of emotions
Chronic Pain and Your Life
Furthermore, with chronic pain that makes it hard to do what you usually did in your daily life, it would harm your mental condition as well. It can damage your self-esteem and make you feel angry with yourself, depressed, and frustrated.
No matter what the cause of chronic pain is, it can be burdensome and depressing to the patient’s life. From the book “The Pain Wars: Fighting the devil called Fibromyalgia”, the author has been suffering from significant physical and emotional damage, causing unemployment, a broken relationship with family and financial difficulties.
It is very important to face the disease always positively no matter how miserable conditions it is dragging you into. When you are feeling hopeless, let’s seek for more opinions from the professionals and those who are in a similar situation with you. You will find these experiences useful like those the book shared.
Get Help for Chronic Pain
If you are getting chronic pain from fibromyalgia like Lady Gaga and the author of “The Pain Wars: Fighting the devil called Fibromyalgia”, you better try to build a strong heart like they do.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. It means you have to deal with this life long.
But don’t be too worried. There are a variety of medications that can help control symptoms. If you can be treated properly, there is a high possibility to experience a reduction in symptoms.
Consult your doctor and read the experience that is shared in the book, you may find more options to control your pain not to keep you from living your life.
Try something in your daily life like exercise, relaxation therapy, and stress-reduction measures that may help. Also, some lifestyle changes, for example, getting enough sleep and quitting smoking are important to keep your pain remains controlled too.