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Chronic Pain And The Loves of Our Lives...or the Lack Thereof

According to a 2015 NIH study, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic or severe pain. That number is alarming. And if that isn't bad enough, chronic pain not only affects an individual, but all family, friends, husbands, wives, and others connected to that individual.




Maybe those not affected by chronic pain don't stop to think about the impact of this statistic.  For one thing, chronic pain affects the most intimate relationships because it can impact the ability to be physically intimate.  Consider fibromyalgia as an example... even the slightest touch can be excruciating. That's only one example--many other possibilities exist. At some point, someone with chronic pain may even "opt out" of physical love completely, just because it hurts too much.

Pain management medications take their toll on these relationships as well.  In as much as they benefit the patient, side effects such as decreased libido and fatigue can be a problem. Communication with our partners, our families, and our pain care team is of utmost importance here. Medications and other pain management efforts can and should be individualized to get the most benefit with the least amount of interference in the other parts of life. Let's not forget--quality of life is important!

Chronic pain has an emotional impact also.  Depression is not uncommon, affecting the patient as well as romantic partners and other family and friends who are associated with that patient.
Loss of self esteem is not unusual either. And the patient and all around them are affected by that lack of self-esteem as well.

If you or a loved one suffers from chronic pain...do everything you can to achieve a balance in this regard.  We're all in this together... and it's the best medicine for all parties involved!


Sources: KTAR.com; American Pain Society;Pixabay




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