Mental Health Awareness Month Tips for those with Chronic Pain

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which allows people from all across the world to engage and especially tune into the mental health community in order to join together to help spread awareness around mental illness.

The stigma that surrounds mental illness and mental health makes it difficult for some people to seek treatment and get the help that they need and deserve. The stigma can cause some people to feel shame about the symptoms and struggles that they are facing. They may be embarrassed to seek help for fear that others will find out, and they may feel alone in their struggles like they’re the only ones going through a similar situation.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are 1 in 5 adults in America living with a mental illness, and yet, the stigma still exists, causing people to feel like they may be the only ones. This is the reason that Mental Health Awareness Month is so important.

One of the many causes of mental health issues is chronic pain from an accident.

The word chronic means constant, lasting a long time, or coming back again and again. When you have pain that has bothered you for more than 3 months and doesn’t seem to get better with time, you may be experiencing chronic pain. Major causes of chronic pain include lower back problems, nerve damage, and migraine headaches. Pain also can be a part of many diseases, such as sickle cell anemia, arthritis, pancreatitis, fibromyalgia, and HIV/AIDS.

There are many other causes of pain, and sometimes the cause is unknown. Chronic pain can be difficult to bear, even awful. It can lead you to lose sleep, to become anxious and depressed, to have a hard time keeping up on the job, and to stop doing things you did before. These changes can add stress, produce more pain, and trigger new health problems. If unmanaged, pain can become the center of your life. In many cases, chronic pain is a lifelong condition.

However, by managing your pain, you can usually continue to enjoy the activities that matter to you. One of the most important things you can do to manage your pain is to safeguard your recovery from mental illness or addiction. A clear mind helps you think better so that you take the right steps to manage your pain. You can work with healthcare providers to manage your pain.

If you have chronic pain, talk to your healthcare providers about it at your next scheduled appointment, or set up a new appointment just for this purpose. Don’t put off talking to your care providers in hope that the pain will go away. Medical professionals may be able to determine what’s causing the pain and help you deal with that problem. Even if the source of pain remains a mystery, care providers can work with you to try different strategies until you find a combination that reduces your suffering.

You can manage your chronic pain to live a good life. 

Be ready to share information about your mental and emotional health.

Some conditions can make your chronic pain worse. For example, if you were in an accident or terrible incident, you may have flashbacks or other symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These can make the pain more intense. Being depressed, anxious, or under a lot of stress can make pain feel worse, too. Your care providers will ask questions about your state of mind because the way you feel mentally and emotionally has a bearing on the best way to treat your pain while minimizing risk to your recovery.

What can you do for Mental Health Awareness Month?
8 Ways You Can Raise Community Awareness during Mental Health Month
  • Talk with everyone you know. …
  • Open up about your experience. …
  • Encourage kind language. …
  • Educate yourself about mental illness. …
  • Coordinate a mental health screening event. …
  • Volunteer. …
  • Leverage social media.