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How do you explain to someone what having chronic pain is like? I’ve had it for almost 3 years and my friends and family still barely understand because I just can’t explain it.

Top reply
    • Speedyk


      I’ve learned that they don’t need to understand it, they just need to know what you need from them

    • Speedyk


      I’ve learned that they don’t need to understand it, they just need to know what you need from them

    • heds_bebe


      I have recently been thinking about my pain like layers. One layer of plantar fasciitis I can deal with no problem. But on top of that if I’m having an acute shoulder/neck situation then everything is much worse to deal with. Any of those one things on its own is manageable but it gets overwhelming and I start to lose hope when I have pain stemming from multiple things.

    • Pey10


      I say it’s like how you feel after you’ve been beat up, but it never goes away. Some days are better and some are worse, but it never goes away. You never do anything in your life without pain. Everything you do, I have to do too, but in pain. And then everyone expects you to act like you’re not and gets shocked if the weight of it is getting to you.

    • nevernothurting


      I agree with some of the commenters, unfortunately unless they have a chronic pain disorder theyll never fully understand it, but ive just over simplified it to explain for people who have asked about it so i usually just say I’m always in pain, or I explain it saying I have a chronic widespread pain disorder and usually they can understand that much. When I’m asked to describe my pain or someone asks how I feel, usually it’s like an annoying, persistent, but slightly dull pain and aches everywhere pretty much. If for example ive hurt my back or something, and it’s more painful than what I usually experience, my brain will think of things that exemplify what I think that other thing would feel like, to explain my pain. I’ve said before it feels like someone has a butter knife between two of my vertebrae when ive gotten extreme sharp pains in my back

    • exaustedeveryday


      You can't explain it to people who CAN'T understand.

    • Ellen


      I dont think my family can define what chronic pain is, but they can definitely tell how I feel from time to time. Just be open and share your feelings with them and emotions around the condition, don't be shy or embarrassed. The people who are the closest to you will want to know all of it! That way they will get to know more about it.

    • Emma37


      You can send them some articles or others personal stories. For me it is also hard to describe my feelings but I love to show my husband and friends this app, so they can read how people like me feel.

    • Supersleepy1


      I like to give visuals. You know in Rocky when their head is all wrapped up swollen from the ring?… Sometimes it feels like my body is being crushed from the inside out

    • peppa


      The spoon theory is an awesome way to explain chronic pain! A friend with chronic pain shared it with me... I've told most of my closer friends about it so if I'm ever having to leave early because I'm not feeling well or declining an invitation to do some activity that would be too much for me, I'd tell them, "I don't have enough spoons" and then they get it and are more understanding. I hope this helps relieve at least some of the stress of having chronic pain by not having to spend spoons (or energy) to keep explaining yourself.

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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night sweats





Anxiety (Including GAD)