September focuses on the challenges associated with pain and chronic pain during National Pain Awareness Month.
Pain can be temporary, or it can be crippling. Nearly everyone experiences some kind of physical pain in their lifetime – headaches, back pain, joint pain, a bruise, or broken bone. However, chronic pain persists over long periods of time with little relief. The National Institutes of Health list chronic pain as a chronic disease.
A variety of conditions may cause chronic pain. For example, arthritis, fibromyalgia, traumatic injury, migraine, cancer, and other diseases like diabetes may cause long-term physical pain. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.
I live with chronic pain in my spine and shoulder from a life saving surgery. It required opening the bones of my spine to get rid of growing cyst. It was pressing on my dpinal cord creating a long list of symptoms that would grow to include not breathing.
Those who live with chronic pain often face difficult choices. Their jobs and relationships often suffer due to the constant pain. The stigma associated with chronic pain suffers is another burden they carry. Unrelieved, chronic pain can lead to job loss, depression, and isolation, as well as other medical conditions.
Pain Awareness Month speaks to medical professionals, family, and friends of the chronic pain suffer, and the suffers themselves. Due to the wide variety of pain and its causes, chronic pain can be difficult to treat. Therapies and treatments vary depending on the cause of the pain – and not all treatments work for all people. It’s frustrating for anyone with chronic pain, especially when those around them don’t understand.
Those with chronic pain often hear these painful comments when they miss work, a social event or even complain about their pain:
- You don’t look sick.
- Take some aspirin.
- If you lose weight, exercise, get some fresh air, you’d feel better.
- You’re just depressed.
- It can’t be that bad.
- You just want the good drugs.
Pain Awareness Month sets out to dispel the myths, stigma, and misunderstanding surrounding chronic pain. The entire month of September presents opportunities for the medical community, friends, family, and chronic suffers to share their experiences, educate and inform the public.
NATIONAL PAIN AWARENESS MONTH HISTORY
In 2002, the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) and the Partners for Understanding Pain established Pain Awareness Month. Its mission is to raise awareness and educate the public regarding the issues surrounding pain and pain management. The organizations also strive to remove the burden of the stigma associated with those with chronic pain.about:blank
HOW TO OBSERVE #PainAwarenessMonth
During September, learn more about the different kinds of pain and treatments available. You can also:
- Support research into pain treatments.
- Listen to and believe a person with chronic pain.
- Continue to invite a friend with chronic pain. Chronic pain comes with good days and bad days. You might catch them on a good day.
- Understand when a friend declines. Chronic pain has no schedule.
- Be an advocate. Share your concerns compassionately with your friend and let them know you’d like to help.
- Learn about their limitations. Then accommodate them.
- Attend webinars and events about pain management.
- Talk to your physician about pain management.
- Share your experiences with pain.
Use #PainAwarenessMonth to join the conversation on social media.