Chronic PainWhat To Do When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much

What To Do When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much

People with chronic pain can be incredibly resilient after facing daily discomfort for long periods of time. We quickly build a new kind of tolerance to the typical aches and pains. Plus, we have to get creative with how we do day-to-day activities through or around the pain. Chronic pain survivors are often tough because we have no other choice but to be. But all this said, there’s no hiding the impact that living with chronic pain can have on our lives.

So, what do you do when chronic pain becomes too much? Below, we’ve put together some suggestions on what you can do when chronic pain becomes too much to function as you normally would. From self-care to self-advocacy, there are resources to lean on in the times when the pain goes off the scale.

How Do You Know When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much To Handle?

How Do You Know When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much To Handle?There are different types of pain that people can experience. Some people might only ever have instances of acute pain while others deal with the long-term effects of chronic pain.

The main difference when it comes to acute pain is that this type of pain usually happens suddenly and does not last longer than four weeks. Acute pain usually is the result of an injury, surgery, illness, or other types of strain. Any type of pain, acute or chronic, can disrupt somebody’s abilities. However, chronic pain usually has a longer impact on somebody’s life because it’s not something that resolves after time.

Those with acute pain might have an action plan to work toward eliminating the discomfort. People with chronic pain might have similar methods, such as:

  • Taking pain medication
  • Applying heat or ice
  • Doing physical therapy or other tolerated, gentle movements
  • Using distractions (seeing friends, watching movies, reading books, etc.)
  • Eating well/avoiding certain foods
  • Stress management

But people living with chronic pain might not always find success in these traditional methods. One sign of when chronic pain becomes too much to handle is when there is no relief from the pain, despite these attempts.

Additionally, an indicator that chronic pain has become too much to handle is when it begins to greatly impact one’s quality of life. This means that the pain is so severe that the person experiencing it is unable to work, socialize, find joy in going out, care for themselves independently, or function in other ways.

When this happens, people living with chronic pain can face a whole new onslaught of challenges. Not only is it incredibly frustrating to have one’s day-to-day life greatly impacted, but the side effects of pain can be detrimental to one’s overall well-being—including physical and mental health.

Chronic Pain and Mental Health Support

One of the most important resources when chronic pain becomes too much to cope with is to get mental health assistance. The physical experiences of chronic pain are a lot to handle on their own, but there is also an emotional component that comes with this as well.

Research shows that people living with chronic pain are at an increased risk of having anxiety and depression as well. When chronic pain becomes too much for a person, it can leave them feeling isolated, stuck, and dependent on others. Sometimes, this leads to a negative self-image.

Even just worrying about when you’ll feel pain next or how you’ll do day-to-day things when the pain flares up can cause a harmful impact on your mental health. Feelings of sadness, helplessness, and loneliness are all common to experience with chronic pain—but nobody should have to deal with these feelings alone.

Attending counseling, practicing mindfulness, and getting help from chronic pain support groups are all useful resources when chronic pain becomes too much. Support groups can be particularly helpful when people living with chronic pain feel as though nobody else understands their struggle. In reality, many people face similar issues when it comes to chronic pain. While this might not make the pain any less severe, it can help lessen the emotional side effects that come with chronic pain.

Advocating for Yourself

Perhaps most importantly, advocating for yourself when chronic pain becomes too much for you to function is absolutely vital to managing your health and happiness. Self-advocacy is the practice of speaking up for your needs. This could mean speaking with your doctor in order to express that the current method of treatment for your pain is not working as effectively as it could be.

Advocating for yourself might also look like asking for accommodations at work. This can be very beneficial to your overall health. Accommodations are very necessary when chronic pain becomes too much to function as you typically would, but they also can help to prevent more pain. For example, if chronic pain makes it challenging for you to take the stairs, having elevator access can reduce the risk of experiencing more pain and might even help you to save the energy that you need to make it through the day.

Moreover, speaking out on the need for digital accessibility can be a useful form of self-advocacy when chronic pain becomes too much to do things physically and leaves you to find other methods of accessing resources or support. Digital access to online support groups, your medical charts, and even using apps to track patterns in your pain are all strategies that might be helpful in better managing the constant discomfort that comes with chronic pain.

When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much, Don’t Sacrifice Yourself

When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much, Don’t Sacrifice YourselfThe biggest takeaway here is that chronic pain can have a significant impact on your quality of life. The trick to living with chronic pain is to find ways to make it more tolerable in the hardest of moments so that you can still find joy and wellness in your day-to-day life. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Pain is complex and people living with chronic pain often have to cope with constant discomfort. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to what people should do when chronic pain becomes too much to cope with. While some people might find relief in certain remedies like pain medication or physical therapy, others must take the time to practice self-care and tend to their mental health.

Whatever coping strategies you might turn to when chronic pain becomes too much, just keep in mind that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice yourself or your well-being. Listen to your body’s needs. Sometimes, the different pains can be an indicator that you need to take a break, get those accommodations, or work to advocate for better pain management. Most of all, practice patience and kindness toward yourself.

It’s easy to become frustrated with your body and your abilities when chronic pain becomes too much to handle. Consider making a list of all of the things you can do in spite of the pain. Or use the support of others who understand the struggles of living with chronic pain. You are not alone in this fight—and you are not without hope. Though it may not feel like it, better days are ahead.

What Do You Do When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much?

What Do You Do When Chronic Pain Becomes Too Much?
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77 COMMENTS
  1. Chronic pain, chronic headaches, insomnia, major depression, severe anxiety, tired all the time, nothing brings me joy, not even 1000mg(5 tablets) of ibuprofen does anything, can’t get disability, far too young for any retirement, no skills, a.d.d., I feel myself changing, I’m getting frustrated, cranky, angry more then ever, the pain is in my spine/neck so nothing is comfortable(standing, sitting, laying, walking, etc) then find myself watching the news hearing day after day this rich people complain about people like me, and constantly try to remove aid that already isn’t enough.

  2. Oh my gosh! Reading all of these situations is absolutely so sad and sickening. I am in the same boat. Had back surgery that did not work and I am in constant pain for the last two years. I take three Advil and one methocarbamol every six hours, which does not help very much. Do you have to go to the streets to get pain medication? What has happened to our doctors/society that they will not help their patients. It has gone so far to the left that there is no help for anyone that wants to get drugs legally . I also do not feel like living anymore. I have no quality of life and obviously there is no help in sight. Something has got to change but I do not know what it will take. It’s just hopeless.

    • I am so sorry for what you are going through! My next step, is going to the streets and finding something or anything that will ease the misery I have put up with for 8 years. I am at least 2 years away from back surgery, if I qualify at all! It might as well be forever! I am in the process os switching Doctors in hopes he will have a different approach to things. I am not going to live out the rest of my young life feeling like this…………I refuse too!!! If street drugs are the answer, than so be it!

      • Hi Kerry
        Before you take to the streets for pain relief try CBD GUMMIES, my oldest daughter recently gave me a bottle of them and they really helped in easing the pain that I’ve lived with since 2007.
        ( Work related) injury. There’s been a lot of research and success with marijuana THC (pot) that the chemical that causes the euphoric ( high) feeling.
        You don’t have to smoke it, it can be added in almost all kinds of foods and drinks (tea or juice).
        Personally the THC makes me feel sick to my stomach, not sure why, but as I mentioned before CBD GUMMIES worked for me.
        Pure CBD chemical 0.03 mgs causes pain to diminish and could offer pain relief. You’ll need a Medical Marijuana Card from a doctor that has been certified in Medical Marijuana, the card is going to cost me $50, and I’ll be able to purchase my own Pure CBD OIL/ EATABLES.
        My pain was so out of control I had to find a way to relieve it, I took a online specialty certified courses with Colorado University the home of things medical marijuana studies.
        I hope that you’ll look into these options before you really consider taking it to the streets.
        FOR ANYONE LIVING WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA
        DO NOT EVERY USE THC PRODUCTS
        Namaste

  3. In 2014, I fell down concrete steps at my workplace. Then, I had difficulty walking in a straight line so my doctor ordered a MRI. The reported no abnormal findings. I saw 5 neurologists as my condition worsened. The fifth on actually analyzed the original MRI. He diagnosed spinal cord compression. I had surgery 13 months after the accident. Surgery showed severe compression with loss of signal. Surgeon put in two artificial disks that made me a 1/2 inch taller and fused and caged two additional disks. After surgery I began loosing use of my hands. The pain became intolerable when my doctor became reluctant to prescribe opioids anymore as laws were changed requiring monthly instead of quarterly office visits. I had to quit my job in 2017. He instead recommended a spinal cord stimulator but I coded red when it was turned on. In 2020, I finally found a neurosurgeon who explained that the artificial disks were too big for my body which caused misalignment of my other vertebrae some of which were now putting pressure on the nerve roots controlling my arms and hands. He scheduled for surgery in March 2020. It was cancelled at the last minute because of the CDC edict against elective surgery. I then lost my health insurance as COBRA ran out and it took more than two years for Social Security disability claim. Now dystonia has set in. The muscle contractions have been so severe that they caused a broken bone in my foot. Through this doctors have caused trauma by telling me repeatedly nothing was wrong despite obvious ataxia and dystonia. So I now have severe uncontrolled pain, ataxia so bad that I’m frequently accused of being drunk except I rarely drink. (2 alcoholic drinks in 2022.) and dystonia causing muscle contractions severe enough for me to be hospitalized. Each night I pray to not wake up tomorrow. Level 8, 9, and 10 is not for the faint of heart. We need better pain management training and policies. I’m tired of reading in scholarly journals that psychotherapy will cure my pain, or my pain management doctor pushing spinal cord stimulators and pain pumps because of government scrutiny of opioid prescriptions.

      • No but I have a different issue. My conditions are due to Spina Bifida/hydrocephalus. They gave me opiates for ten years and I came off them myself (which was hard), but I did it. I don’t want to fill the gap with things that are bad for me but I don’t want more opiods. My anxieties and depression where made worse on them. I don’t know what to do. Maybe I have no choice, I should though, shouldn’t I. I don’t know what to do.

    • Hi Brother
      I feel for you. I thought I was bad.

      I gave been suffering with cervical radiculopathy for 8 months now and my pain got worse with time.
      The pain doctor just gives me pain meds that aren’t working anymore.

      He can’t explain what is causing the pain.

      My meds sometime work and sometime don’t work like tonight.

      The whole neck is burning and radiating into the thoracic spine.
      It is horrible, it doesn’t stop.

      The targin 10 is not working. I asked the doc to give me oxycontin 80mg but he won’t prescribe it.

      I hope that something good will come our way.
      I pray for us brother

      Alfred from Melbourne Australia

    • Can you get cervical epidural injections & opioids monitored through a pain management clinic? These have helped me along with heat & TENS external stimulator. It you are losing function of hands, can’t turns keys in car, can’t write-see neurologist or neurosurgeon.

      • No but I have a different issue. My conditions are due to Spina Bifida/hydrocephalus. They gave me opiates for ten years and I came off them myself (which was hard), but I did it. I don’t want to fill the gap with things that are bad for me but I don’t want more opiods. My anxieties and depression where made worse on them. I don’t know what to do. Maybe I have no choice, I should though, shouldn’t I. I don’t know what to do.
        I have had “pain management”
        They advised certain things but that didn’t help in the long run. I have told them (docs) I need more hands on aproach because talking won’t take away nuro pain but I don’t want to be on so much meds I can’t feel. I was like this and had had enough. Thats why I stopped taking them to see if I could cope. I havnt been but didnt realise because the opiods where so strong. I didnt realise until I came off them because of anxiety. Maybe they will listen, they don’t though. Because I’m not “fixable” I’ve never really had much help.
        A small bit of councilling when I drank because I didn’t know what else to do. I stopped that a while ago. I think I need a advocate?
        Why do some people talk to physically disabled people like we are crazy. This shouldn’t happen and doctors need to stand up and help or people will hurt themselves in many ways. I’ve seen it with others for years. This needs to stop. I need to see someone who will listen. I’m greatful that my recent GP seems to listen. Alot over the years haven’t. No the wonder I feel nuts.

    • Tom, I got hurt at work in 2004 had cervical surgery in September of 2004, January of 2005 I blew out L5&S1 had another surgery, then in February of 2006 another surgery at L5&S1, then in October of 2021 another surgery at L3&L4 and now I have three disc in my thoracic that is bulging the worst being at T9&T10 and was scheduled for surgery on February 15th of 2023 and it was canceled because my neurosurgeon said it was too risky and he felt like it would not help me and could possibly make things worse. From the beginning I was put on opiates that kept me going and I could still have some what of a life, then came the opiate crisis and my pain doctor started cutting me back on my meds at that time I was taking 2×40 mg opana extended release and 4×10 mg oxymorphone instant release a day which is the same as opana, that’s 120 mg per day of strong opiates. I’m now getting 37.5 micrograms per hour, fentanyl patches and 4×10 mg hydrocodone and my pain level is through the roof and the doctors refuse to give me anything stronger. I have no quality of life anymore and I’m just tired of living like this I’ve prayed to God to just take me on home, I don’t know how much longer I can fight this battle before just give up.

    • Tom, I got hurt at work in 2004 had cervical surgery in September of 2004, January of 2005 I blew out L5&S1 had another surgery, then in February of 2006 another surgery at L5&S1, then in October of 2021 another surgery at L3&L4 and now I have three disc in my thoracic that is bulging the worst being at T9&T10 and was scheduled for surgery on February 15th of 2023 and it was canceled because my neurosurgeon said it was too risky and he felt like it would not help me and could possibly make things worse. From the beginning I was put on opiates that kept me going and I could still have some what of a life, then came the opiate crisis and my pain doctor started cutting me back on my meds at that time I was taking 2×40 mg opana extended release and 4×10 mg oxymorphone instant release a day which is the same as opana, that’s 120 mg per day of strong opiates. I’m now getting 37.5 micrograms per hour, fentanyl patches and 4×10 mg hydrocodone and my pain level is through the roof and the doctors refuse to give me anything stronger. I have no quality of life anymore and I’m just tired of living like this I’ve prayed to God to just take me on home, I don’t know how much longer I can fight this battle before I just give up.

    • I’ve been there praying that I don’t wake up, the pain was so horrific that I put myself in a mental health hospital.
      I was put on some psychiatric medication and I stayed on them for about 4yrs they did help me the sleep and I no longer wanted to unalive myself.
      There are some great works being done with Medical Marijuana the THC chemical that causes the euphoric (high) feeling and the CBD chemical that causes the feeling of relaxation and pain relief.
      I too live with chronic pain that’s been stilling my life since 2007 due to a work related injury. I knew that there had to be a way to get some kind of relief so I studied online certified specialization courses with Colorado University the home of all things Medical Marijuana studies. I came to find out that I can’t use the THC chemical because it made me sick to my stomach, but I can use the CBD chemical without any problem.
      My oldest daughter recently gave me a bottle of CBD GUMMIES 0.03 mgs, which proved to be a little bit to strong for me so I cut the gummies in half and to my surprise the CBD chemical kicked in 5 to 10 minutes and my pain diminished to point that I was relaxed and comfortable for about 6 or 7 hr of the day.
      Before bed I take another half which allows me to sleep like a baby.
      There’s a saying when it comes to THC and CBD
      ( Start low and Go slow)
      It means to start with a low dose (mgs) and wait for it to kick in before taking anymore.
      I hope that my information will be helpful to you in trying to find some relief from your pain.
      Namaste

  4. I am in intense chronic pain. My doctor tells me I cannot take Celebrex anymore because it increases the risk of internal bleeding with Eliquis, a blood thinner for the heart. Is there any compromise for the pain?

  5. If anyone has any advice for me that would be most welcome. I have arthritis in spine and both hips, both results from many sports injuries. Waiting on surgery, it will be a long time till I get it as the NHS is so badly underfunded by our wonderful government. I have gained so much weight I hate myself. I am also bipolar 2 and suffer regular bouts of terrible depression which leaves me fatigued beyond belief, unable to cope with the pain, needing sleep but in too much pain to get much. Even when not depressed my only certainty is that the next episode is in the post. I’ve been depressed for about 50% of my adult life. My psychiatrist is awesome and does keep my bipolar medication regime as effective as it can be, but sadly she has just moved to another area so I have to get to know another one now. Finally I have had a stomach issue from years so cannot take any form of anti inflammatory or NSAID medication so rely on paracetamol and tramadol which I’m utterly dependant on, are not terribly effective anymore, have horrible side effects (which add to and combine with the side effects from my bipolar meds) and even worse have very severe long term consequences. I have zero alternatives available and I’m only 56. Life can feel too much of a struggle some days – yet I keep on going because I have so many other things to be eternally grateful for like a wonderful husband and daughter and a loving supportive wider family. I don’t know if writing this has made me feel worse or better!

    • I should add my sister is doing her final year of a degree to be a medical herbalist and she specialises in the gut micro biome. The bacteria we inherit genetically does have a genuinely massive effect on our susceptiblity to all medical physical and psychological conditions and it’s only now that people are recognising that. Fixing your micro biome can have transformative effects but it i expensive, time consuming and dictates a certain diet. For anyone who is out of options you should could consider a consult with a micro biome specialist. Don’t just taken random probiotics that won’t help, your treatment will be specific to you.

      Hope that helps someone to find new hope, I’m looking into it myself now.

      • My neighbor had trigeminal neuralgia . Tried pain meds ( doped her up)
        Surgery ,no relief.
        Went to a special chiropractor that does the Chinese way of breathing to the area that needs healed. We were both sceptical but it worked for her. They adjust her too. Off all meds!

  6. Hi my name is Dave- I just discovered this site today. I was wondering if anyone here had the same experience as me-.. I’ve been with the same doctor for over 20 years, he’s seen me thru 5 back surgeries, been prescribing me painkillers for all these years. I signed an opioid contract, always stuck to it- never once had a problem. I’m a diesel mechanic, and my pain levels have been made tolerable thru the use of my meds- It’s chronic pain- but well managed. My doctor retired last month, I was assigned a new doctor from within the same office….. The new doctor cut my meds to nearly zero- … and I had never even spoken to her yet- never been examined- nothing. Not even a phone call. I’m immediately into a world of hurt- and immediately into withdrawal. Her reason for not letting me have my medication- “ I don’t feel comfortable “. That’s it! What do I do? I can’t perform my job, I will lose it. I will be homeless if I can’t pay my rent- WHAT DO I DO? She is dismissive of my pain. I’m in big trouble

    • I really sympathise, some people will just always think people with back pain are deliberately at it or your brain is imagining it. Do they ever consider that real constant pain isn’t “just chronic pain”, it is unrelenting, it does affect everything you do and some days it can make your life intolerable? Are you in the US? It’s different here in the UK so I’m not sure about the validity of these suggestions but it’s what I would recommend to someone here so I hope some of them help. Can’t you change your GP? Or complain? Or speak to the last surgeon who did your surgery. This GP is causing you physical and psychological harm and the hypocratic oath says “do no harm” as a fundamental for doctors. Put in writing that your doctor is causing you harm and even ask a lawyer to send the letter if needs be. you have rights, withdrawing medication and treatment without consultation or agreement is contrary to everything a proper doctor should do.

    • It’s happening everywhere, my story is similar to yours, I was with one Dr for over 10 years, never had any issues with my pain medication being prescribed. He retired and the Dr that took over looked st me and said we will not be treating chronic pain patients anymore. I said I’ve been taking this medication for years and years it’s the only thing that helps this relentless pain! He said, “ you’ll go thru withdrawal but you won’t die!”
      I was shocked!
      I went thru a living hell!
      I joined a support group on line it’s now called “the Dr patient forum”
      Lots of great info!

    • I absolutely feel your pain Dave, literally and figuratively. So much of your story reads as mine would…. 2 decades with the same doc, an amazing man, but he passed away unexpectedly and I’ve since come to find out that there was pandemonium in his office after. No one knew how to keep his pain management clinic running and it really screwed a lot of people. For me, it’s been a rough road, and I still don’t know if l will make it. It is cruel and unusual punishment to take pain relief away from those who need it, making them desperate for such in the process.
      Bless you and may you come ro find peace, comfort and relief.

    • I am so sorry David, to here this. I don’t understand how this doctor could just cut you meds…? Is it possible to take your file from her and find a new doctor!! Your medical file belongs to you!! The new doctor is destroying your health and life. Seek someone who actually cares!! Maybe search a pain clinic near you

  7. Hi everyone. I’m so sorry we’re all struggling with pain and all that comes with it. I’ve had back pain off and on for about 15 years. MRI showed degenerative disk disease, a bulging disk, osteoarthritis, multiple pars fractures, and stenoses so my nerves get restricted at the base of my spine when I have inflammation. They said I needed surgery and I was I was in my early 40s at the time so after much research and pondering I declined to have it done and tried alternatives that tided me over until I developed an incredibly painful ishial tuberosity problem. It comes and goes and I can barely sit for a few minutes at a time. Then I have to stand or move around and after a short while my lower back starts hurting and I have to lay down in only one position that reduces the pain. Heat, ice, lidocaine patches, topical cream, over the counter pain relief, prescription painkillers and muscle relaxers, massage, CBD, herbal tinctures and supplements, rest and lots of tears. Nothing helps. I’m going to see a new doctor who specializes in treatment of woman who have chronic pain conditions. Can’t get in for 5 weeks. I am drawing diagrams and writing out my pain history and all meds and treatments I have tried. Sick and tired of being misdiagnosed and dismissed. Had it with poison in my body not doing anything for me. I also was accused of being a drug addict at a local hospital when I went to the ER for care. They misdiagnosed me and performed inappropriate procedures on me. Doped me up with massive amounts of morphine and god only knows why they gave me a spinal tap. That mess ended up as a malpractice situation I had to represent myself for 2 years in pain all the while. So now I am going to demand an MRI with contrast so they can diagnose me based on visual evidence and THEN treat whatever is going on. Why is nothing working? In the meantime, which is where we here all seem to exist, I’ll tend to my self care, utilize my therapist, spend tons of time with my pets and people who love me and get my way through it. I just 86ed my current doc of the past 6 years of doing zero for me. No exray, ct, mri, ultrasound just his dumb opinion based on my words. Not even a manual exam. Yeah, I know. Should have done it sooner. I’m sure you guys have heard your fair share of advice and criticism too. That’s a bummer part of chronic pain that didn’t get mentioned in the above article but it’s a real stressful and unpleasant byproduct of chronic pain. Thanks for reading and sorry so long but I’ve had it with this pain and all the other mess that comes with it. Just started working again and I’ve got obligations and deadlines now. I’m really excited about it but resent my limitations with this pain. Thanks everyone for sharing. Take good care of you and yours!

    • Hello Jenn, I just wanted to thank you for your comment. I don’t know why this is the first time I’ve thought about talking to other people, looking at articles like this, etc., but I’m in tears reading the article and thinking, duh, other people are going through this to and it would be great to talk to them. I’m in year 3 now, pain from when I wake up to when I lay down. Have had a spinal fusion but now that has caused si joint dysfunction, my knees started hurting out of nowhere about a week ago, just aching after doing nothing special, my hands got swollen like crazy and I had sharp, nerve type pain into my hands, my shoulders hurt every night and when I wake because of how I sleep (I wish I could control how I lay while sleeping) it’s just all gotten to be too much.
      Anyways, I wanted to ask if you would keep us updated on your progress. Im interested in other things that may help.
      Take care,
      Colleen

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