HOW TO DEFINE YOUR PAIN (AND WHY IT MATTERS)
In recognition of National Invisible Illness week (September 9 – 15), we’re going tackle the topic of pain. Whether or not you have fibromyalgia, pain is familiar – on some level – to all of us.
Can you tell me in 3 words or less what type of pain you experience? If so, you may be able to help your health and wellness support team determine appropriate treatment.
Get out your thesaurus — there’s lots of ways to describe pain. Do any of the following terms relate to you?
— Is your pain at times short, stabbing, and/or sharp?
— Or, is your pain most of the time miserable, unending, and/or overwhelming?
Your descriptions help to define and categorize your condition:
Notice if your words are specifically physical —
such as sharp, stabbing, burning, throbbing, etc. ;
if so, your pain is more likely to be classified as acute pain.
Notice if your words are more descriptive in nature —
such as miserable, frustrating, agonizing, overwhelming, etc.;
if so, your pain is more likely to be classified as chronic pain.
You may ask, “What’s the diff?” Does it really matter?
Just as with many things in life, when we’re able to zoom in on the specifics of a problem, we’re better able to work on solutions. When members of your health and wellness team (friends, family, doctors, holistic health providers, etc.) get a better idea of what type of pain you experience, they can look for appropriate diagnoses and treatments.
Acute pain typically stems from a specific injury (such as a broken bone, surgery, or a burn, etc.). It’s duration varies, but it usually is short-term in nature.
Notice that the words used to define chronic pain often show emotional feelings rather than only physical feelings. This is a strong clue for medical professionals to assign the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, arthritis, or chronic issues such as headaches and back aches. The descriptive words demonstrate the destructive toll that constant and chronic pain takes on us at an emotional level. It’s no surprise that chronic pain is sometimes linked to emotional concerns such as anxiety and depression,
Of course, many of us use mixed terminologies –
our pain can be sometimes stabbing while all the time miserable.
If you’d like to read more on this subject, check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic.
How would you describe your pain? What words do you use most often? Be sure to leave a comment below!