Chronic pain is a condition that can be physically, psychologically, and socially life-altering. Those suffering from the condition often have to make dramatic lifestyle changes to accommodate their pain. Everyday tasks like going to work, running errands, and even visiting loved ones become hard to accomplish.
Unfortunately, these lifestyle changes can create confusion for those around you, and some may buy into the many stigmas. With the right support, you can educate the people in your life, maintain your self-image, and find the treatment that works for you.
If you are battling chronic pain and the stigma surrounding it, stay tuned because we here discuss how to break the stigma and find support.
Breaking the Stigma
There are many stigmas surrounding chronic pain, and when you find that someone in your life is beginning to associate you with one, it is important to remember that these preconceived attitudes come from a lack of education, not purposeful judgments.
Some of the stigmas are that a person with chronic pain is seeking drugs or is just lazy. A chronic pain sufferer can also fall into self-stigmas due to the attitudes of those around them. They may begin to lose confidence in themselves and feel they are not good enough or not trying hard enough.
These stigmas can be broken by surrounding yourself with individuals who understand the condition, are willing to learn about it, and offer support.
When struggling with any condition, having a support system is vital. Luckily, there are many ways to find support.
Your care team is the doctors, specialists, nurses, or individuals helping you care for your condition.
Often, your care team is the most important part of finding support. They are who you go to when the physical pain becomes too much to handle, you are uncomfortable with your treatment plan, or you have concerns.
If you trust the individuals in your care team and can be open and honest with them, it can relieve a lot of the stress that goes hand in hand with the chronic pain stigma. If you ever find that you don’t want to be honest with your care team, you may want to consider finding new providers.
Friends and Family
Your friends and family will also be an important part of your support system. These are the people who care about you on a personal level and genuinely want to see you get better.
Science suggests that receiving support from people you know and love, improves your mental health, which in turn, improves your pain. Your friends and family also help you not feel so alone while going through the struggles associated with your condition. If your loved ones struggle to grasp the details of your condition, start by educating them. Here, you can find more information on how to educate your loved ones about chronic pain.
There are support groups for every condition and life situation you can think of, including chronic pain. If you are looking for people to talk to who have a deeper and personal understanding of the challenges of chronic pain, a support group is the place to go.
Support groups can be found through your local healthcare facilities and online in open forums, on support group websites, and in social media groups. Being a part of an online support group can be nice because support is always at your fingertips. Anytime you are feeling down or need advice, there is support just a few clicks away.
Your therapist is another member of your support system that is irreplaceable. Your therapist offers support in many ways. They provide you a time and place to rant, talk, cry, and get things off your mind. They listen to your concerns, struggles, and thoughts and help you work through the emotions.
Your therapist also teaches you valuable coping tools that play an instrumental part in regulating your emotions.
Having loved ones, doctors, therapists, and support groups that genuinely care will be incredibly helpful. Unfortunately, not everyone can obtain these types of relationships. This is one of the reasons why finding support within yourself is crucial.
Self-support can be found and created in many ways.
Take care of your body- Taking care of your body physically and nutritionally not only improves pain symptoms but also boosts confidence. With the right diet and exercise routines, you can prove to yourself and those around you that you are not letting this illness take over.
Find the medications that work for you- You may find the perfect doctors, but finding the perfect medication or treatment plan may not be as easy. Every medication interacts with people in different ways and sometimes, the side effects are more drastic than the improvements being made. Don’t be afraid to let your doctor know when you are no longer happy or comfortable with a specific medication. Also, don’t be afraid to take your health into your own hands a bit. Find daily practices that ease your pain, such as time in a sauna, yoga poses, or cannabis (here you can find a dosage calculator for those new to cannabis).
Practice self-care- Practicing self-care will help you maintain a positive self-image and reduce stress. You can practice self-care by doing any healthy activity that you enjoy. Examples include: taking a hot bubble bath, watching your favorite movie, getting a massage, spending time on your hobbies, and going for a walk. As long as the self-care practice makes you feel good without harming your health, you should make time for it.