What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain extends beyond the usual recovery period for an injury or illness that can go on for months or years. The pain can be constant or not, but can affect daily life at all levels. People sometimes wonder if the “pain is all in my head” – at times, it is difficult to pin down a specific physical cause for the pain, but that doesn’t lessen the suffering. When we experience any pain, it is in both our bodies and minds – we cannot separate the physical and psychological affects they have on us. Pain can also affect our relationships, finances, and employment, which leads to increased anxiety and depression. It is common to experience grief for our old lifestyle and miss how our bodies used to be.
What is Chronic Illness?
Chronic illness is a persistent medical condition that people have to manage on a daily basis. Examples of chronic illness include diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, cancer or HIV/AIDS.
Sometimes living with chronic illness and pain can be very difficult. It seems like no one understands what you have to go through. Managing pain, fatigue, medical appointments, special diets and medications can be overwhelming for both patients and family.
While working as a medical social worker my interactions with doctors and medical staff helped me to gain a greater understanding into how chronic illness and chronic pain impact everyone in the family. Relaxation techniques and EMDR are valuable tools to help manage pain and illness, and the stress associated with them.