Living with chronic pain is complicated, to say the least. People living with pain conditions know just how impactful the symptoms can be on their everyday lives. From figuring out the “little things” like tying shoes or making a meal to navigating work accommodations and maintaining a social life, living with chronic pain can bring up a wide variety of challenges.
Luckily, there are resources out there to help with these difficulties. Chronic pain advocacy groups, for example, can assist those living with chronic pain in a number of different ways. Below, we explore just 5 of the reasons you would benefit from joining chronic pain advocacy groups. See for yourself how these support groups can change your perspective on living with chronic pain.
Learn More About Chronic Pain
One of the first reasons why joining chronic pain advocacy groups can be beneficial is simply to learn more about chronic pain itself. Even though an estimated 20 percent of adults in the United States experience symptoms, there are a lot of misconceptions about chronic pain still out there.
To start, chronic pain advocacy groups explain that there is a difference between experiencing acute or temporary pain versus long-term, recurring pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for an extended amount of time without relief. The type of pain might be sharp, achy, sore, etc., and it could be a result of an injury, illness, underlying pain condition, or other health challenges.
Though any type of pain is unwanted and can bring serious side effects, chronic pain, as opposed to temporary pain, comes with different complications. Raising awareness on the long-lasting health effects, mental health strain, and other impacts of pain is often a goal for chronic pain advocacy groups.
It can be extremely helpful to have the right terminology when describing the pain that you feel to medical experts or even to friends and family members. Through speaking with others who live with chronic pain, you will better be able to understand the overall impact of these symptoms in addition to becoming comfortable speaking about your own experiences.
Chronic Pain Advocacy Groups Are Patient-Centered
Living with chronic pain also means living in what can feel like a specialist-centered world. Trying to get help for pain management can look like visiting many doctors, therapists, and other health experts. While it’s always important to seek the advice of trusted medical experts, it can quickly get overwhelming.
This is where chronic pain advocacy groups come in. The unique feature of support groups for chronic pain is that they consist mostly of people who are actually living with pain. This means that, above all else, chronic pain advocacy groups are patient-centered.
Putting you, the patient, first might sound simple but it’s all too easy to get lost in the health talk. Having patient-centered support groups can help you in a number of ways, including:
- Feeling heard
- Understanding your symptoms
- Making connections with others
Remember, when it comes to your experiences with pain, you are the expert. Chronic pain advocacy groups are here to remind you of that when times get tough.
Get Ideas for Pain Management
Chronic pain advocacy groups aren’t just for emotional support, either. In actuality, they can be invaluable tools to get ideas on pain management. Oftentimes, people think that opioid medications are the only treatment for chronic pain. While the right medications can be instrumental in helping to alleviate chronic pain, some people need other alternatives for pain management.
In chronic pain advocacy groups, you can seek out the advice of others who are going through similar struggles. Here is where you might find tried-and-true methods of managing pain that don’t just involve opioid medications. Commonly, people with chronic pain have found the following to be useful when it comes to pain management:
- Gentle, tolerated activities
- Physical therapy
- Balanced diet
- Mindfulness or meditation
- Social interaction
Finding pain management resources through support groups goes hand-in-hand with the patient-centered mission of many chronic pain advocacy groups. No matter what direction you need to take in order to manage your pain, it should be a plan that has your comfort, functionality, and wellness in mind.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Along the same lines as above, chronic pain can greatly disrupt one’s sense of “normalcy,” making it hard to work, socialize, and participate in hobbies. Consequently, people living with pain often struggle with their mental health as well—especially when they don’t have the right pain management tools.
Research indicates that mental health disorders commonly happen either as a result of chronic pain or can become exacerbated by pain symptoms. People who live with chronic pain also deal with:
- Mood changes
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low self-image
The worries, intense emotions, and further mental health symptoms can actually add to the severity of chronic pain. But even though this is the reality for people living with pain, not many others understand this side of chronic pain. However, people in chronic pain advocacy groups do.
These support groups aren’t just a great place to vent or look for advice on the toughest of days, but the people here represent all of the side effects, daily struggles, and sense of grief that comes with having long-term pain.
Know That You’re Not Alone
Finally and most importantly: joining chronic pain advocacy groups can help you to understand that you are not alone. All of the statistics on how many people experience chronic pain in the United States might indicate the prevalence of pain to an extent, but these numbers don’t capture the true, lived experiences of chronic pain warriors.
In chronic pain advocacy groups, you can communicate with real-world people who understand. You can build meaningful relationships with others who know what it’s like to wake up each morning with aches and pains. With chronic pain advocacy groups, you are able to see that—even though it feels like it at times—you are never truly alone in your journey.
How To Join Chronic Pain Advocacy Groups
Joining the right chronic pain advocacy group isn’t hard with the Pain Resource Community. Our community is available at your fingertips so that you can get all of these benefits explained above and so much more from a network of strong chronic pain survivors like yourself.
Plus, with the virtual capability of accessing chronic pain advocacy groups, you don’t have to put your body through more strain just to get connected. Get involved in chronic pain advocacy groups today to be more informed, more confident, and further on your way to a more comfortable way of living.
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