May Inside Pain: Making Invisible Illnesses Visible

Although 100 million U.S. adults, children, and teens suffer from chronic pain, patients experience a variety of difficulties connecting to each other, finding the treatment they need, and living in a world that’s not always kind to people who need a little extra help.

May’s Inside Pain content explored this world, uncovering resources and tips to make life better for chronic pain patients.

Early in the month, we wrote about spoonies, a subculture that has developed around chronic pain. A chronic pain patient inadvertently thought of the term “spoonie” when she tried to explain to her friend what living with an ongoing condition was like. The patient, Christine Miserando, wrote about the experience on her blog. The post went viral and gave the chronic pain community new terminology and tools to help friends and family better understand their day-to-day realities.

This month’s article, What Are Spoonies?, explores what the term means, and you’ll also learn about the controversy it triggered.

Many symptoms of chronic pain conditions are invisible, and fibro fog is one of these debilitating, but unseen experiences. In 6 Ways to Manage Fibro Fog, you’ll learn effective ways to continue your life despite cognitive disruption, and read about the new ideas researchers have about why the symptom develops.

Looking for relief from fibromyalgia-related muscle soreness? If so, don’t miss this month’s Foam Rollin’ And Heat: 3 Ways To Manage Sore Muscles From Fibromyalgia. You’ll learn effective ways to use heat for finding relief and unwinding tension.

Heat relief: try a unique Ayurvedic practice that’s easy to do and leaves you with that just-came-from-the-spa feeling.

This month, we also investigated the pros and potential dangers of other popular heat therapies: saunas and steam rooms. In this month’s article, you’ll learn the difference and find out how to choose the most healing option.

May was the perfect time to dive deeper into these important life issues for fibromyalgia patients because May 12 marked Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and also days of recognition for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). May 10 was also World Lupus Day, and the variety of awareness activities snowballed into each other to elevate public recognition about these typically invisible disorders.

Many fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients have faced the frustration of encountering people who feel like the conditions are made up or who can’t understand why the patient may be having trouble. “But you don’t look sick,” is a constant refrain. The power of these awareness days is to raise the level of understanding so that the general public is aware that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are very real, with significant health consequences.

Fortunately, the community has come a long way in raising awareness, but there is always more work to do.

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day May 12 sought to educate the public about this invisible disease.

May also brings Memorial Day, an important holiday for honoring the nation’s veterans. Unfortunately, veterans are facing a health crisis because of post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain that results in tragically high suicide rates. This month Inside Pain reveals just how serious the problem is and identifies ways veterans can find the help they need.

Learning how to live with chronic pain is a long journey, but we hope the tips in this month’s How To Live With Pain help. Training the mind is critical for increasing quality of life, and a few key lifestyle choices can significantly impact how good you feel every day. Don’t miss this article to learn our six top tips for feeling your best, both emotionally and physically.

At Arizona Pain, we’re committed to helping you live a complete life, and working with you to achieve optimal physical and emotional health. The two spheres are intimately connected, with emotions heavily influencing the way pain is felt and vice versa. We hope you enjoy this month’s articles that reveal our tips for helping you navigate difficult life times.

Another way to minimize pain and maximize enjoyment is to limit stress. We’ve put together a free plan called 7 Days To Less Stress to help you do just that. The plan includes one easy step to take every day that when incorporated into your daily routine will dramatically reduce tension and improve your quality of life. Everybody has their own preferred stress buster, and our hope is that by the end of the seven days, you’ll find a few methods that you really enjoy. From tips to help you re-imagine your mornings to ways of re-thinking the to-do list, you’ll find an array of stress-reducing tactics sure to provide a breath of fresh air.

Exercise is one stress-reducing tactic that also vastly improves physical health. It’s often said that exercise is one of the best ways to fight fibromyalgia pain, but does it really work? In this month’s article, you’ll learn what the experts say and discover the most effective types of exercise to combat pain. We also reveal the top tips to keep in mind to stay safe and avoid injury.

Yoga is another highly touted activity that research says offers profound relaxation benefits. In 4 Ways To Use Yoga To Manage Fibromyalgia Pain, you’ll learn expert tips to start a practice, including how to choose the right class and teacher, and ways to enjoy class once you’re there. You’ll also learn some easy ways to practice right in your home, even if you’ve never taken a class before.

In-depth guides to yoga and exercise aim to help chronic pain patients unleash a new level of wellness.

Lastly, if you’re looking to connect online with fellow chronic pain warriors, we revealed the best social media networks catering specifically to chronic pain patients. Many of these networks are popping up, particularly for teens and children, who may be even more isolated by chronic pain than adults.

We hope these articles help you learn new ways to manage pain and reduce stress. That’s our goal here at Arizona Pain, to make our patients happy and help them live a good life.

What was your favorite article this month?

Image by Mike McCune via Flickr