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How I Describe Chronic Pain

Last updated: 05-05-2020

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How I Describe Chronic Pain

Last week, we challenged the readers of the National Pain Report to describe their chronic pain in two sentences. We received many dozens of comments—all of which were heart felt, some of which were longer than two sentences and some which really didn’t describe the pain as much as they described the frustration of the reader.

The idea of the “challenge” was to try and explain to someone who doesn’t have chronic pain what it feels like.

Here are just come of the memorable comments left.

“My spinal column and back feels like a bomb exploded and I constantly feel the shrapnel from herniated discs.”

A Cholla cactus is my attacker – or has it become my spine.

It’s a very big, strong man with a sledgehammer hitting my buttocks Nonstop, with the pain going down to my ankle, then the hot knife stabbing into my sacral joints and up my low back

Imagine your legs throbbing like a toothache 24/7 and like they are burning 24/7. Welcome to RSD/CRPS!

For men. My pain is like being kicked in the testicles every 15 minutes.

For women: My pain is like a never-ending mammogram while getting my teeth drilled unanesthetized.

Imagine angry bees under your skin stinging, electricity zapping throughout your body, relentless burning pain.

My pain lives in me is constantly knocking on the door to remind me it is in my life. My goal is to not be defined by the gnawing reminder it is there

My pain makes me think asking someone to slowly drive over my legs with a golf cart would make it feel better.

My pain is like an electrified ice pick stabbing through my back, nonstop.

When I was a kid the car door got slammed shut on my fingers. This pain is like that, except that nobody comes to open the door.

One part of my pain is like being bit all over by fire ants. The other will not allow me to sit, stand, walk, lay down, for more than 10 – 15 minutes at a time.

Imagine a demon, whose sole purpose is to destroy, torture and ultimately kill its unwitting victim, has taken up residency in your entire spine

When I walk it feels as if I’m walking on hot coals with shards of glass.

Imagine if your feet feel like thousands of tiny blisters all popping at once while at the same time, your feet are set on fire.

My pain is like a grumpy guest who won’t leave.

For a number of our readers, it was less a description of their pain and more of a frustration that someone who doesn’t have chronic pain will never understand.

Describing my pain to someone who doesn’t understand it, would be like Wearing a blindfold for 10 minutes and then saying, “I know what it’s like to be permanently blind”

I’m so grateful that you don’t understand my pain. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

(Editor’s Note. We’d like to thank everyone who offered their time. For readers who don’t have chronic pain, maybe you, like me, learned something from this. We hope so.)


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