We’ve all experienced pain in our lives, whether from an injury, illness, or just day-to-day aches. Unfortunately, many people deal with much more than a minor headache or a bump or bruise – and it’s something that affects their lives every day. It’s chronic pain, and it has a way of taking over your physical and emotional well-being.
If you have chronic pain of any kind, it can be difficult to talk to others about it for many reasons. Some people feel embarrassment, even though it’s not their fault and there’s nothing they did that caused it. Others simply don’t want to bring it up, because talking about their pain causes them stress or anxiety. Others just feel that people in their life won’t understand, relate, or empathize with them, so they avoid the subject.
TMD and Chronic Pain
Many people with a temporomandibular disorder (TMD) know chronic pain all too well. Untreated TMD can cause months or even years of jaw pain, headaches, earaches, neck and back pain, and more. Pain relievers only temporarily mask the symptoms and aren’t enough for most people. So, many people with TMD try to go on with their daily lives while living with pain that interferes at every turn.
Talking Can Be Positive
Despite all the reasons people may have for not discussing their chronic pain, this isn’t the best approach. There are some good reasons to discuss chronic pain with people around you:
- Having a friend or family member who can understand what you’re going through may alleviate stress and help you cope emotionally. Simply having a listening ear can do wonders for a person’s ability to cope with pain and/or the condition that’s causing it. And, because stress may aggravate pain, relieving that stress through friendship and talking may make you feel physically better too.
- Telling a work supervisor before a major problem arises is better than waiting until you have to call in sick. Be proactive if possible. You may wish to tell one or two trusted co-workers so they can be supportive and help you with work responsibilities when appropriate.
When to Keep Quiet About Pain
Unfortunately, some people will not understand or relate to chronic pain no matter what you tell them. Some may offer unsolicited advice or try to minimize your problem. Others may use it as an opportunity to gossip or judge.
If you don’t know the person well, it may be best to hold off on sharing your chronic pain with them until you’re sure they are someone you can trust and rely upon for support. People with chronic pain don’t need the stress that may be caused by a rude comment or an unhelpful attitude.
Chronic Pain Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life
If you are living with pain from a jaw problem or TMD, it’s time to get to the bottom of it. At MedCenter TMJ, we can discuss your symptoms and treatment options to help you get back to a life without pain.