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How to Get understanding of Chronic Pain Through Pictures

How to Get Understanding  of Chronic Pain Through  Pictures

How to get understanding of chronic pain through pictures is something that I started thinking about a while  ago. Here’s the thing. I have always known, like most of you do, that story telling has been a powerful  means of sharing experiences since ancient  times.

You can learn more about chronic pain here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_pain

That said, we live in a time were often the picture tells the story. Images sometimes have the power to move us in a way that words can’t. Also, the stigma associated  with chronic  pain sometimes makes it hard for people to talk about.

However, personal stories told through images and words can shed light on the impact of chronic pain on people’s lives. The purpose  of this post is to do just that. I want to show you how to get understanding of chronic pain through pictures.

Let’s jump in….

When you have no control over your body

tips on your body as a crumbling temple
Your body as a crumbling temple

A lot of chronic pain sufferers feel that their spine is “definitely crumbling and cursed”.

 They can feel that way because out of nowhere their  flare-up, dramatic increase in pain levels, can start one night and not stop. 

Flare-ups are often triggered by overdoing things, but the hard part is that the effects may not be felt until later. Sometimes it can be as much as 24 hours later by which time it is too late to do anything about it. You can’t go  back and you have to live with the consequences.

The consequences can be frightening. Here is one chronic pain sufferer relating her story:

“I’d walked up a hill to get to a friend’s car and it just knocked my SI and hip out and I couldn’t move and I was worried about not being able to get to the bathroom. I was worried about soiling my own bed and lying in it because I couldn’t move. That didn’t happen I am delighted to say, but the panic of something like that is just, it’s frightening….” [1]

What Lesson Can we Learn About Crumbling Temples

What’s the lesson that can be learned  for those  who don’t live with chronic pain? Our culture  values what you can do and defines that as productivity. It often defines achievement as to what you are physically able to contribute.

It Gets Worse

Imagine the void you would feel if people around you suddenly viewed your as less of an achiever because of your chronic pain condition. It would more than hurt your feelings. You might start questioning your self-worth. This is what some people who keep getting flare-ups experience.

Next

tips on your body experiencing technical difficulties
Your body experiencing technical difficulties

 it  doesn’t  always take a flare-up to make a pain sufferer, especially  one with a bad back, to feel that their body is rejecting them. It can be something as small as bending to pick up a pen from the floor and then you get stuck. Here is the experience of one pain sufferer:

“I was at the grocery store, and I bend to pick up my list which had fallen on the floor. I got stuck and needed help to straighten up. It was embarrassing.” Pain sufferer forum 

Another one said his sciatica  acted up when he sat in a chair that was too high. “ I felt like I was being mauled by a bear”. Pain sufferer forum

What Lesson Can we Learn About The Mechanics of Our Body?

Any sudden or awkward movement can result in back pain. For most of us, the pain will go away as the body adjusts back to normal. However, for people already experiencing  chronic back pain any strain, twist, or unusual  movement is likely to make tolerable  pain feel much worse.

Next…

tips on focusing
Having a hard time focusing

This refers to the problem of focusing when you are in pain. Most of us are aware  of how hard it is to focus when we are experiencing  stress.  For example, You’re having a birthday party for your teenage daughter  the same day you just found out that you lost your job. You want your daughter to be happy, but it’s going to be difficult to concentrate on the hoopla and the balloons. 

Here is how a pain sufferer puts it:

The pain can become all-encompassing, making it difficult to focus on other things they may want to do, such as reading, exercising, or even having a conversation, he says. “You can’t forget it because it’s there all the time.” [2]

Here is How Some Pain Sufferers Found a Way to Regain Focus

tips on standing strong
standing strong

Some pain sufferers  have been taught how to think about or visualize their pain as something that they could reduce or put away. For example, putting the pain in a box, dimming a bright light or watching a hot sun set. One woman described visualizing putting the pain from her thumb behind a glass screen and was surprised when it worked. [3]

What Can we Learn From Pain Sufferers About Our Own Problems With Focusing?

We can better understand how something like deep breathing  and relaxation can reduce stress and help us focus.

Next…

What Would You do if You Had no Pain?

tips on a day without pain
wishing for a day without pain

This is a question that pain sufferers are constantly asking themselves. The surprising thing is that the answers are often uplifting and a celebration of what most of us take for granted. Far from depressing, the answers are inspiring. They are a call for the rest of us to get off our ‘pity couches’ and  appreciate  what we have.

Here are just some of the things they would do:

“I would sit on the floor and play with my grand babies”.

“I would light up a bonfire and roast marshmallows.”

“ I would go to the beach and dive into a wave.”

“ I would go out to dinner with an old friend I’ve lost touch with.”

What Can we Learn From The wishes of Those Who Live in Daily Pain?

We can learn to be grateful that our blessings are more than our challenges.

Finally…

tips on being more than your pain
you’re more than your pain

This is a message that pain does not define who you are. After the initial shock of how pain has  forever changed many of the things they used to do and now can not, a lot of chronic pain survivors  become resolute and are determined  that pain will not control their lives.

What Can we Learn From Those Chronic Pain Survivors Who go on With Their Lives Despite The pain?

I think we can learn that we should  never allow any difficulty or challenge  define who we are.

Conclusion

There is a lot written  about chronic pain survivors. Some of it is junk, but a lot of it, if you do the proper research, is quite good and informative.

 However, even the most interesting articles  can at times be weighted down with statistics and peer research that really doesn’t help the average person seeking to understand what it’s like to see the world from the perspective of a person who suffers daily pain. 

I hope that I have helped you understand the experiences of chronic pain sufferers through  the process of using images that allowed you to place yourself in their shoes and feel what they feel.

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I like to hear from the readers so please leave me a comment below to let me know if this post helped you or if you have any questions.

 

Reference

1

http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/chronic-health-issues/chronic-pain/pain-management-relaxation-and-distraction

 

2

https://www.prevention.com/health/a20474136/symptoms-of-chronic-pain/

3

http://www.healthtalk.org/peoples-experiences/chronic-health-issues/chronic-pain/pain-management-relaxation-and-distraction

8 thoughts on “How to Get understanding of Chronic Pain Through Pictures

  1. I have been following your posts for a while now and I am seeing such an improvement in your posts, I loved the photographs you chose for this post. I am no stranger to chronic pain, I have lived most of my life with chronic pain since a little boy. You never really get used to your pain, and many prescription pain drugs can damage your organs. I know I now live with kidney disease and intestine disease due to prescription drugs. I recommend people search for natural ways to live with their chronic pain.

    Jeff

    1. Hello Jeff,
      Thanks for the compliment. The more I learn about the side effects of many prescription pain drugs the more I have become convinced that when possible people should search for natural ways to live with pain. Apart from internal damage, some drugs can do external damage such as peeling one’s skin. This can only make a stressful situation worse. In any case, I thank you for sharing your story.I believe that we are all better off when those in pain feel free to speak out.

  2. I love the analogy of pain in pictures. As an individual who suffers from Lupus and Chronic pain syndrome, I can relate. I make the choice daily to work through it. It is there but I can not let it own me, my day or my life. Some days are surely more difficult than others. I like to most closely relate to your last image. What lies behind it is “beautiful”. That is what I focus on and it gets me through a lot of it. I laughed at the multiple tab image and where the music was coming from. Haha, I know that feeling too! Thank you for the inspiring words and images. I will bookmark and return to this page for those tough days and the good 🙂

    1. Hello Christina,
      Your strength, resilience, humor, and kindness is such an inspiration for me that I’m always happy if I can give a bit of inspiration back. I’m glad that the post spoke to you.

      Sincerely,

      Thabo

  3. Thank you for this very helpful article. To be honest, I have very little understanding of chronic pain. And your article with the pictures truly opened my eyes. I now understand better.

    Just a question – I have a problem with my body. The doctor diagnosed it as Frozen Shoulder. What happened was I used to go to the gym when I was younger. During one session, I dislocated my right shoulder. Being young and foolish, I daringly pulled my shoulder back into position. There was very little pain, and the shoulder seemed all right again.

    Now, decades later, I am paying the price for the foolishness. The shoulder has frozen, and it is has lost its flexibility. I find it hard to reach for things above my head. Also, when I sleep the should will pulsing ache pains that keeps me awake at night.

    Is this a chronic pain? And is there a way to cure this?

    1. Hi Tim,

      As I am in the chronic pain niche I have become familiar with the issue of Frozen Shoulder. Chiropractic is an effective alternative treatment option for frozen shoulder because it focuses not on the symptoms, but on the root of the problem. For instance, pain medication treats pain—but not the underlying problem. Side effects from pain medication might only aggravate a person’s well being, and create complications but not resolution of the condition. Chiropractic can offer, most importantly, a preventive to occurrence and recurrence. More and more people are seeing the chiropractor for Frozen Shoulder. It might do you good to also consult a chiropractor. You might find that a combination of manipulation and deep massage therapy receives your condition. Frozen Shoulder can lead to deeper issues if not treated. So in that sense it might be considered chronic pain. However, with the right treatment it be kept from reoccurring. I hope that answers your question.

  4. This was an excellent article on how people feel that experience chronic pain. It really is important to try to understand how a person is suffering, I know I have family member that live with back problems and because of not understanding, I wonder if they are really in pain or using it as an excuse. After reading this article I feel horrible but now I know that at times maybe they just pack the pain away in that box and continue to live life the best they can.

    Your article has helped me to understand more of what my family is going through and I am forever grateful.

    1. Hello Dena,
      Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not easy to understand what a pain sufferer goes through. Even as a caregiver I sometimes find myself being impatient with my mom, like when she keeps asking me to repeat things. Then I have to take a step back and realize that when someone is in pain it can distort what they are hearing, like static on a radio. You may think you’ve said everything clearly, but to them it’s static. That’s what chronic pain can do. So, it’s not easy to always be empathic to those who live in pain. It’s something that all non-pain people have to get better at, including me. This is why I wrote this post.

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