How does chronic pain affect quality of life?
Chronic pain affects every single aspect of a person’s life. When you feel overwhelmed with pain, it can understandably affect your level of functioning, negatively impacting your mindset, relationships, sleep, and also how you feel about yourself. You may no longer be able to do the things you used to do. Feelings of hopelessness, worry, anxiety, and depression may become frequent guests. When left untreated, chronic pain can feel like it takes over your life by interfering with the goals and dreams that made you feel alive and motivated.
Understanding your unique pain experience and learning how to better manage your symptoms gives you better understanding, hope, and puts you in the driver’s seat of your own pain management. Chronic pain does not define you. You are not your diagnosis and you are not defined by current limitations! The quality of our lives is defined by the choices we make in each moment, so try to shift your focus onto the things that you can do and show yourself that you can enjoy your life and live well – despite ongoing pain. Stay open to feel moments of joy in your life, engage in an interest you’re passionate about, and seek social support. These are simple yet powerful ways to cope that keep you motivated. Be courageous and set goals, even if they look different than you previously imagined. Most importantly, know that there is always hope. There are ways that you can train your brain back to its pain-free state, alleviate your symptoms, and reclaim your quality of life.
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