Friday, 27 May 2016

A Reply: Why Take Medication if it Doesn't Take Away All the Pain?


I've seen this question asked a lot on social media lately, 'why take medication if it doesn't take away all the pain?' I'm pretty sure most chronic pain sufferers have had to answer it at one point, and if you haven't you no doubt will in the future.

I was 17 the first time I was asked, I remember it clearly as if it was yesterday (and it was twelve years ago), and it really annoyed me then. I've been living with chronic pain for sixteen years, tried every treatment you could possibly think of, and there's absolutely nothing that completely takes all the pain away. I take a variety of prescription drugs that do different things; painkillers, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and nerve suppressors, to name a few. I've found what works for me and although it took a while to find the right combination, I couldn't function without them.

So why do I take medication if I'm still in pain? 

Like I've just mentioned, if I didn't take any medication at all I wouldn't be able to do anything. You have to remember that the pain is excruciating, scream-worthy, has me in tears, but the drugs make it so those days aren't every day. My medication means management, it means I can do things, and although I'm still experiencing an abnormal amount of pain, I can still get things done. My medication takes the edge off. 

A lot of us that suffer with chronic pain have a really high pain threshold, we can withstand quite a lot. Sometimes I dislocate an barely bat and eyelid but a person who doesn't live with daily pain would potentially be screaming. A pulled muscle, a sprain, a torn ligament may be the worst pain a non-chronic person has ever dealt with, to me, it's not so bad. You have to realise that pain is subjective but because I'm used to it, my breaking point is much higher. I'm not saying this is a good thing, because it's really not. I'd much rather have the odd sprain and it hurt for a few days than to be hurting every single day for the rest of my life. What is a 10 on the pain scale to non-chronic people, would probably be a lot lower for someone dealing with chronic pain. I live my life switching between 7-10, there's nothing lower, the pain doesn't go.

Then there's the flip-side, when I'm crying in pain and unable to move and my medication doesn't even touch my pain. Why take it then? Because sometimes it does work, and how am I to know if it will or wont? I have various other devices and aids to help me combat my pain but I could not live without medication. I'd be tearing my hair out, when not crying I'd be angry and irritable, I'd be depressed, housebound, isolated, exhausted; it's not a person I'd ever want to be.

There's no point in shaming those of us that rely on medication to participate in society, to get out of bed, to survive; we already have a tough enough fight on our hands without dealing with your judgement and negativity. Along with my team of medical professionals, I know what is best for me; so please think before you pose a harmful question to a chronically ill person. We're bloody trying.

8 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. What a stupid question for people to ask you, surely everyone has taken a painkiller on atleast one occasion in there life so should understand there not miracle tablets. (all be it we dont all take it long term like someone with chronic illness might) If someone had a bad migrane, you dont hear people saying oh they have taken some paracetamol they should be expected to go to work they still have a migrane as if the paracetamol had made them feel totally alright. It just makes life more comfortable if they choose to carry on there day if they choose rather than surcoming to being ill and not doing anything. I would take them if they even helped me a little bit, for you especially if you didnt it would be very hard because its not like a headache you cant just let it pass. Would people say the same for anti-depressants, they dont make everyone feel completely happy.

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    1. Yeh, you'd think so but some people really don't get it at all x

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  2. Oh my goodness this sounds so horrible. I feel like people who don't have chronic pain (like myself) can sometimes be flippant because when you have good health it's so easy to take it for granted. But you should do absolutely everyting you can to limit your suffering as much as possible!

    The perks of being a hipster – Santorini – Exploring Fira

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    1. Most definitely and thank you so much for understanding x

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  3. Thankyou for writing this post, for sharing what it's like to be asked this question. It's so stressful at times when I get asked questions similar to this, that it's difficult not to scream at people :( I get asked why I take my medication if it's doesn't work sometimes, and you explained perfectly why in your post. We never know if it will always work, but we keep taking it because it MIGHT work and then it will take the edge off the pain or relieve a certain symptom.

    I've had people question me like medication is the magic answer to my problems! They ask me why I don't go back to the doctor for more when they don't stop the pain and they don't understand that the pain will never go away, it's just sometimes less severe because of the meds and sometimes we get days that are not as bad. It's frustrating when I'm having a bad pain day and people will ask if I've taken my medication and are generally confused that I'm still in pain.

    I love your posts :) They always perfectly explain things that I struggle to articulate sometimes and help remind me that I'm not alone x

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    1. Aww thank you so much, I'm glad they help x

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  4. I think a lot of the time it's difficult for someone without chronic pain to understand the level of pain involved.

    I was recently diagnosed with EDS and finally got my pain meds sorted out but people have been shocked at the amount of pain killers I have to take and the fact that sometimes they just dull the pain rather than get rid of it. In fact my boss' reaction was: how much pain are you in?!?

    They didn't realise how bad the pain I've been fighting through is. I still get a lot of: surely if they're not working you don't want to take them, those are dangerous addictive painkillers.

    Sigh.

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