One thing that a lot of people seem to not realise is that pain levels vary between people and severities in chronic pain.
Just because you have chronic pain and so does the next person, that doesn’t mean your pain is the same as theirs! Pain levels vary dramatically.
You can have chronic pain and it can be mild and controllable with exercise or without painkillers. Then you can have chronic pain that is so severe you are bed-bound and need strong painkillers to help reduce the pain (like me).
You can’t judge someone else by your pain. Just because you may have “chronic pain” but you have it quite mild but constant and can exercise and feel relief, doesn’t mean than the next person can.
Some people can work full time and be fine with over the counter painkillers now and again. Others like myself, can’t work at all as they are disabled and in severe pain.
This also goes the other way, just because yours is severe, doesn’t mean that the next person’s pain is severe. They may have it pretty mild.
For some, one person can get by not using anything for their chronic pain, the next person can use ibuprofen and it helps their chronic pain as theirs is mild, and then many others NEED things like opioids for pain as the level is much higher and debilitating.
Sadly I see people with chronic pain all the time saying things to other people also with chronic pain such as “just exercise”, “do yoga”, “try <insert any over the counter product here>”.
Stop judging others pain levels. You won’t have the same as theirs. Please stop doing this.
Chronic pain is just a wide range of various pain that I doubt any two people have the exact same level of pain and in the same places.
Pain can vary dramatically! Stop assuming and judging others just because they have “chronic pain”.
Don’t assume that someone doesn’t need painkillers because you don’t or know someone with chronic pain that doesn’t! You have no idea how someone else’s pain affects them or how severe it is.
This also goes for doctors and nurses out there. You can’t say that someone shouldn’t be on painkillers and should be using non-medicinal treatments because another patient was fine without them!
Chronic pain just means they have pain long term. That doesn’t mean everyone has the same level of pain and chronic pain can be anything from very mild to incredibly severe and debilitating like mine where I am disabled due to it. Pain also varies where it is on the body too so you can have chronic pain and it be just in one small area, then others like me have it in a much larger area!
With the NICE chronic pain guidelines in draft right now, there is a scary chance that all painkillers including opioids and all other medications (except some anti-depressants), will be removed as an option for chronic pain in the UK. For people with severe pain like myself who need a strong painkiller like opioids, this is very scary and worrying as my pain level is incredibly severe.
My Experience With Chronic Pain
My pain started decades ago, where it was still chronic pain, but it was milder and I held off taking painkillers or anything other medication as I could manage without.
I did all the physio sessions which didn’t help and made the pain worse. I did exercise which didn’t help it either. Doctors would fob me off and send me away.
Over the years it got worse and worse and then quite suddenly got much more severe up to the point it is now, which is where the pain is so severe that I am bed-bound and pretty much unable to move, where I would be screaming and crying day and night as the pain was unbearable.
Unable to sleep even with my bad chronic fatigue which makes me sleep a lot, all because the pain was unbearable.
I have a high pain tolerance so the fact it is unbearable shows how bad it is. I feel like I have been beaten with a sledgehammer constantly. Worst pain ever and constant.
I couldn’t move at all and I honestly would have preferred to be dead than continue with that pain forever.
My doctor tried various medications over the space of a year, gradually trying more and more things. Nothing worked.
I told him cannabis helps but I can’t get that on the NHS even though it is medically legal in the UK. You have to go to a private doctor for that which can cost hundreds to thousands a month! I don’t wish the break the law so I carried on with the available treatments on the NHS.
He continued trying more things to the point I was given Fentanyl which helped immensely! I can get out of bed, I am not screaming and crying with the pain day and night now as the pain is MUCH less severe. I can move and sit downstairs which I couldn’t do before as the pain was so horrific
I am not pain-free and it adds to my fatigue quite a bit, but I have much less pain, can sleep and am now not bed-bound! I am still unable to walk far and I can’t stand more than a few minutes, but it is so much better than before.
I do have some issues due to the fatigue adding to my chronic fatigue which makes me much more sleepy. I have also had various withdrawal between patches issues which I am coping with at the moment as we changed the interval that I change patches, but it is still much better than the pain I had. I could not go back to that pain I had before.
I would much prefer cannabis of course as you don’t get side effects, it is a safe non-addictive plant, so I wouldn’t get the withdrawal issues I have, but sadly the NHS won’t allow it for pain due to their penny pinching and archaic rules.
Either way, I still need a strong painkiller for my severe level of pain.
Just because you might not does not mean that the next person doesn’t.