The Different Types of Pain From Chronic Illnesses
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The Different Types of Pain From Chronic Illnesses

I've realized that a lot of my able-bodied friends don't know that there is more than one type of pain.

The Different Types of Pain From Chronic Illnesses

Approximately 40 percent of Americans have some sort of chronic disease or illness and about 20 percent deal with chronic pain. I personally have both Fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which are both chronic conditions that cause me a significant amount of pain on a day-to-day basis. However, I've realized that a lot of my able-bodied friends don't know that there is more than one type of pain and that you can experience more than one type of pain at once. Being in constant pain is a difficult concept for healthy, able-bodied people to understand but I have some analogies that can hopefully make it easier to grasp. I cannot speak on behalf of all people with chronic illnesses. These are only some of my experiences.

An elephant is sitting on me 

This tends to be a common one for those with chronic illnesses or pain to experience. I most commonly experience this one in the morning (and it tends to set the tone for the rest of the day) but can occur any time throughout the day without warning. I would explain this as an inexplicable pressure that just adheres me to wherever I happen to be sitting or laying. It almost feels like there's an elephant sitting on me. Every part of my body becomes incredibly heavy and difficult to move. I personally think this is due to the fact that because of my EDS my muscles have to work overtime to keep my joints in place due to my faulty collagen. When I sit or lay down and my muscles get a chance to relax and are incredibly fatigued and don't want to "wake up".

My body is held together with Big League Chew bubble gum 

EDS largely affects the connective tissues which bind structures together and essentially keeps the body and organs from falling apart. Basically, everything in my body is super flimsy and loose, and the best way I could describe it is that it feels like my body is purely held together with Big League Chew. All my joints feel so loose like all my tendons and ligaments are just stretchy pieces of bubble gum that could give out at any time. I would also compare it to an old shed made out of rotted wood. If a strong gust of wind comes along it could all just collapse.

Rock hard muscles 

My muscles can either be completely relaxed or working overtime and super tense. My muscles get tense and develop knots super easily and nothing can really fix it. Imagine that dull muscle pain you may feel after an intense workout. That's how some people with chronic pain feel on a daily basis.

Electricity shooting through the body 

This type of pain is largely nerve-related and caused by my fibromyalgia. This type of pain can happen on its own but it usually happens when someone or something touches me. Something such as a simple tap on the shoulder or wearing a pair of tight leggings could send a wave of excruciating pain through the body almost like what I imagine being electrocuted to feel like.

Getting in a car crash with the flu 

On the worst days when those with chronic illnesses are having a flare they would likely describe the sensation as getting in a car crash while sick with a bad cold or flu. The pain and fatigue can be unbearable and most people will spend these types of days in bed.

Princess and the pea syndrome 

I and many others with chronic illnesses (especially fibromyalgia) tend to experience something dubbed princess and the pea syndrome. This is essentially a hyper-sensitivity to touch similar to how the princess in the story could not sleep all night because she could feel the pea underneath twenty mattresses. This princess and the pea syndrome usually goes hand-in-hand with the pain that feels like a bolt of electricity .

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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