chronic pain

September is Pain Awareness Month #PAM16

There is irony in the timing of my writing this in my non-flattering state you see above. 
It’s currently Wednesday, August 31, close to 9 pm Central Time. I was fine all day – really productive and got some self-love stuff done even. I made the mistake of having a full glass of milk around 4:30 pm… then around 7:30 pm, my pain went straight from a 2 to a 7. Extra medications, my tens unit, and ice barely brought it down at all.

Oh, the pain.
Well, September is Pain Awareness Month! It was started in 2001 with the help of a number of organizations coming together. You can learn more about the history via this PDF.
According to Johns Hopkins, 100 million Americans deal with chronic pain… my guess is the real number is slightly higher than that since the CDC states that 117 million Americans as of 2012 had some sort of chronic illness or disability. You can find some additional facts, though they’re from 2007, over at Health Central.

What can you do to raise awareness or help?
Learn more about and share People with Pain Matter, a new initiative from the US Pain Foundation (I shared them on Medium).
Share your story, whether it’s one blog post or a daily account on social media. Make sure to use the tags: #PAM16 #PainAwarenessMonth #USPain #IAmAPainWarrior (Optional: #30DayChallenge #PeopleWithPainMatter). Make sure you’re not being ableist and utilizing tags like #PatientsNotAddicts though. That just hurts other patients with genetic predispositions, trauma, and other pain. Addicts are still humans – and still patients. Don’t be a jerk.
If you’re going to tweet/post/IG your pain, check out the 30 Day Challenge for themes and ideas. The US Pain Foundation Facebook page also has a ton of information and will have a lot of new stuff going up this month.
Speak out against organizations that try to trademark and profit off of our pain by eliminating other organizations they don’t like with said trademark. (Confused? Catch up here.)
You can add a Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile photo, like I’ve done above, here.
Remember that it’s also Animal Pain Awareness Month so if you have a spoonie pet, share their story, too!
And, please, be kind to yourself this month regarding your pain. It’s okay to do less or to say no to things in order to take care of you. I love you and you need to be safe.

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  1. THANK You for saying this "Make sure you're not being ableist and utilizing tags like #PatientsNotAddicts though." I TOTALLY understand why people are using that hashtag and the importance of reminding the public that people by and large just want to treat their pain and aren't just trying to get high. That being said, those who ARE addicts and are also chronic pain patients….well it puts those of us in a weird place. I feel like people don't want to admit that theres people like that because it skews this belief that the only people who should use pain meds don't have any addiction issues but I am someone who has addictive tendencies and at times abused substances but I am also a chronic pain patient who takes morphine to treat my severe nerve pain.
    Thank you for recognizing that <3

  2. Oh sweet lady, you are so welcome! It bothers me so much that people who have addictive tendencies are treated so poorly in this conversation about pain medication. There are so many factors that play into it as well – genetic, experiences, etc – that I see it as often a culmination of multiple illnesses coming together. I wrote a story on Medium about it a few months ago: I love you and I am so glad that you are here and fighting the good fight ♥

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