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Pain and the Pain Blame Game

Anyone that suffers from chronic pain know that it is real!

There are others around us that don't understand chronic pain and many times accuse the one that suffers from pain as overstating their pain, over reacting to pain, and probably many other claims that many have stated on this forum. That is not the "blame game" that I want to write about.

I have chronic pain resulting from degenerative disk disease in my lower back that is associated with many medical terms that I don't know how to spell or say. Everyday can be a new day and there are variances in how I feel pain. Sometimes I get tired of the whole thing and have that exasperated feeling. Other days I am full of fight and am ready to push forward regardless of how I feel. My pain is real and my desire to live and enjoy life is strong. Sometimes I feel weak, but in the end, I become positive and want to move on both figuratively and in reality.

The thing that scares me about chronic pain and its variances is that my pain could mask other symptoms. If I feel a new wrinkle of pain in my legs, my back, my arms (I have neck issues too!), I tend to blame it on my general spine related issues. This is probably true most of the time. The problem is making sure that I am sensitive to new feelings of pain, or variances in existing pain that could be indicative of something else going on not related to my general portfolio of chronic pains. I think that is why it is important to work closely with my medical team. One habit that I am newly developing is to write issues down and make sure that I address each of them with my doctors.

Do others have suggestions on how to not blame everything on a standard set of chronic pains and how to make sure that we don't miss something important by blaming the new thing on our existing collection of pains?


  • I strongly agree with the idea of writing things down, while I'm very new to the idea of chronic pain, I had a pain management doctor last year who told me to keep a pain and symptom journal that I could show to him and my back surgeon, and that proved to be a valuable tool in helping my doctors with diagnosing my CRPS quickly. While they still did a barrage of different tests to come to that diagnosis, my doctor said that the detailed daily symptom list really helped steer the way for what tests would be appropriate, and also helped in his reports for getting pre-approval from the insurance company for the different tests that were ran.
  • A book my physio had read on pain purports the theory that you can only feel the pain that is the greatest at the time. I broke my ankle really badly in my accident and never felt the pain at all because all I could feel was the excruciating back pain. Now I have had some respite from the spine pain, I can feel the very damaged, smashed up, shoulder pain that I have had for 8 years, but could never feel because of my spine pain. It's a breeze compared to spine pain.

    I guess I tend to believe the pain study that says you can only feel the worst pain at any time, maybe it's our bodies coping mechanism.
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