If you're reading this, you likely suffer from chronic pain. This can be a lonely experience, and so we created this three-question quiz about chronic pain for you to share with your friends and family.
Our sincere hope is that this simple quiz will help your loved ones better understand your condition, and in turn that they will offer you additional support and encouragement.
Which of the following factors can influence how you experience, and react to, chronic pain?
- The situation you find yourself in when the pain occurs.
- Family and cultural influences relating to pain. For example, are you encouraged to be more stoic or more expressive in your reaction to pain?
- Your internal thoughts relating to your pain ("this is no big deal" vs. "this pain could be life-threatening").
Answer: All of the above.
Even if two people have chronic pain from the exact same condition, any of the above three factors may cause them to experience, and react to, their pain in entirely different ways. So don't assume someone is not in pain simply because they do not talk about it all the time. This may simply be the influence of the culture in which they grew up.
True or False: All pain is real.
All too often, people who suffer from chronic pain are treated as if there pain is made up or greatly exaggerated. In part, this is because there is no test to diagnose chronic pain. That is, you can take an X-ray to confirm a broken bone, but there is no diagnostic tool for confirming chronic pain.
Additionally, there is no obvious cause for some people who suffer from chronic pain. All this sometimes makes people who suffer from chronic pain feel as if they have to prove there symptoms are real. But all pain is real, and it is important to treat people who suffer from chronic pain with dignity and respect, not suspicion.
True or False: The best thing you can do for someone with chronic pain is suggest a new treatment?
Of course, this is a subjective question. But most people with chronic pain are well-aware of all the treatment options available to them. What they often lack is sympathy and compassion. So if your friend or loved one is suffering from chronic pain, take time today to simply listen. Allow them the chance to explain how they are feeling, and let them know you are there for them.
How did you do on our quiz? No matter your score, we hope the above 3 questions will give your friends and family a greater appreciation of the hardships faced by people with chronic pain.