What is Pain?
Pain is an unpleasant experience in the body. Acute pain is a message in the body warning about danger, whereas chronic pain can have much more complex origins and functions. The nervous system is used to transmit signals around the body to indicate pain.
Acute pain is the pain many of us have experienced from time to time. We hurt ourselves (cut, pull, strain), experience pain, then heal and the pain goes away. That’s “normal”. Chronic pain is not in this category.
Although Chronic pain can be severe, chronic actually refers to how long the pain lasts rather than how severe it is.
Chronic or persistent pain is pain that lasts for more than three months, or in many cases, beyond normal healing time. It does not obey the same rules as acute pain and can be caused by ongoing disease or it can be a consequence of trauma (e.g. surgery, car or work accident, a fall). It can also be a consequence of a minor injury which leaves ongoing pain.
Managing Chronic Pain
Managing chronic pain requires a multidisciplinary approach. Working with your GP, pharmacist, allied health and mental health professional can help produce the best results for people living with chronic pain.
Caring for Someone with Chronic Pain
People who care for a family member or friend who lives with chronic pain, play a vital role in making sure that a person’s chronic pain is managed correctly. This helps lead to a better quality of life for the person living with chronic pain.
Carers also have a unique insight and understanding of what it is like for a person living with chronic pain. This is invaluable as understanding and compassion towards a person living with chronic pain is often reported to us as being one of the things which can most help someone manage their condition.
There are dedicated organisations set-up to assist people who care for a family member or friend with a disability or chronic condition. These organisations can help carers in a multitude of ways including practical on the ground ways and organising respite care when required. They are also a good place to contact at times when things start getting too much and you feel overwhelmed and unsure as what to do next in your particular situation.
For further information on Chronic pain, pain management or carer support please visit the following pages: