They say that many of the beliefs about pain and pain relief are actually false!
‘No pain, no gain’, is a classic example of this myth that is said amongst athletes but in actual fact, there is no evidence to support the actual notion that you can build strength by pushing your muscles to work to the point of actual pain. However, resting and letting your muscles repair, although probably not very macho, is the sensible thing to do.
Another common myth ‘it’s all in my head’, but the pain is a complex problem, involving both the mind and the body. Pain is an invisible problem that others can’t see, but that doesn’t mean it’s all in your head.
It may not always be possible to completely control your pain, but there are many techniques which can help you manage it better. So, the myth that ‘you just have to live with the pain’, is also just not true.
One classic myth is the ‘I’ll get addicted to the pain relief medicine‘. However, GP’s start your pain relief with a conservative approach by prescribing non-opioid pain-relief medicines which are in no way addictive. Physical dependence is not the same thing as addiction. And, physical dependence isn’t a problem as long as you do not stop taking the pain relief suddenly. Addiction is rarely a problem unless you have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
‘You went to that event yesterday, so you can’t be in that much pain‘. Just because someone is in chronic pain doesn’t mean that they have the same amount of pain all the time. It’s quite possible to feel good enough one day to make it to that concert, and then the next day be in so much pain you can’t make it out of bed. It’s also possible to push through the pain long enough to go to that concert that you’ve always wanted to attend, knowing that you’ll pay for it later with even worse pain for days.
‘You look amazing so how can you be in pain’. This is a similar myth to number 5 and one that many people with #fibromyalgia (in particular) are told this. Why would you not want to look your best when you go out whether you are in pain or not and just because you have made an effort to look good does not mean you are lying about how you feel.
‘You can injure yourself further if you exercise when in pain’, This could not be further from the truth, as exercise such as physical therapy can be key to successful rehabilitation.
Pain Pathways point out how people say when people hear ‘chronic pain’ and have never suffered through it, they tend to think it’s as easy as popping a couple of painkillers and taking it easy for a few days. However, that is not the case at all. Chronic pain differs from other types of pain in that it’s not as easily treated. For someone with chronic pain, suggesting they take a Paracetamol is similar to telling someone to put a bandaid on a deep gash – pointless and ineffective.
While medication can definitely assist in treating chronic pain, it is that bandaid approach that is highly unsustainable in the long-term. This is because the body slowly builds up a tolerance to medication, leading patients to need more and more as treatment progresses.
It’s more painful than acute pain. When people hear the term ‘chronic pain’, they often make the mistake of thinking it’s more severe or painful than acute pain. But just because a pain has been identified as chronic (by lasting more than 3 months) it does not mean it’s inherently more painful; it just means that it needs different pain management and treatment approaches.