September focuses on the challenges associated with pain and chronic pain during National Pain Awareness Month.

Pain can be temporary, or it can be crippling. Nearly everyone experiences physical pain in their lifetime such as headaches, back pain, joint pain, a bruise, or a broken bone. However, chronic pain persists over long periods of time with little relief.

Many conditions can cause chronic pain include arthritis, trauma, fibromyalgia, cancer, migraines, and diabetes. Then again, sometimes the cause can be unknown. Sometimes even job performance and personal relationships suffer for people living with chronic pain. Pain can lead to depression, isolation, and other medical conditions that can be a result of personal neglect.

During Pain Awareness Month, we encourage our caregivers and staff as well as our family caregivers and clients to speak about their painful aliments. Talking with medical professionals, family, and friends about pain is important in trying to find treatment and understanding our loved one’s circumstances. For anyone living with chronic pain, it can be very frustrating when those around them do not understand. Pain Awareness Month is a time which we can take time to examine pains and their origins.

For those who suffer from chronic pain it can be unhealthful and hurtful for them to hear comments such as “If you lose weight, exercise, and get some fresh air you’d feel better. You just want drugs to solve everything. It can’t be that bad- just take some aspirin.”

There are myths, stigmas, and misunderstandings surrounding chronic pain and for those lucky not to have to deal with it themselves some education for the sake of others can bring empathy and understanding.
During September, we would like to challenge people to learn more about the different pain treatments available. Perhaps first listen to and believe a person complaining about their chronic pain. Be understanding when a friend or a relative declines an invitation or needs a little more help on a day that they aren’t feeling well. Learn about their limitations and try to accommodate them. And talk to physicians about how you can help your loved ones.

The best kind of care is caring. Taking time to learn and empathize with what someone is feeling goes a long way.