Chronic pain is a prevalent disease in our communities and has many looks. It’s the hairdresser standing tall and on their feet day in and day out while struggling with fibroids. It’s the cashier rushing to check you and many others out while suffering from Crohn’s disease. It’s the librarian support specialist, working two jobs and taking care of her family while feeling the constant shocks in her face from Trigeminal Neuralgia. There are a vast amount of people who go undiagnosed or even just push through the pain to make a living. According to the CDC, an estimated 20.4% (50.0 million) of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults (19.6 million) had high-impact chronic pain in the survey done in 2016 ALONE.
I am one of many Americans dealing with the daily ins and outs of living with chronic pain and I can tell you there are many hurdles in the way of a normal day. Individuals can be bullied and pushed into a depression by being made to believe they aren’t worth the extra care and consideration as they trapeze through the obstacles of the overloaded healthcare system. That includes friends and family that do not educate themselves on the strain this “invisible illness” has on a sufferer. Even finding the right medical center or doctor can be a daunting task! Knowing you aren't alone (and that there are resources out there) can be extremely beneficial to your mental, and even your physical, health.
Luckily, your local library is good place to start looking into how you can navigate YOUR way through the ever-changing and difficult healthcare system. There are a number of "must-read" books just waiting to be checked out! If you aren't big on hardbacked stories, they have computers and wi-fi for you to use to do some research on your own: With the same must-read books and more in their digital libraries! Our communities could do so much more if we were willing to inform ourselves on the disabilities/capabilities of others and show the compassion that is so desperately needed. I highly encourage continuing your education on this topic as much more appreciation in these fields of study could greatly empower generations of sufferers.
Here are a few good book titles to consider when starting your journey:
Confronting Chronic Pain: a pain doctor's guide to relief
The Take-Charge Patient: how you can get the best medical care
Doing Harm: the truth about how bad medicine and lazy science leave women dismissed, misdiagnosed, and sick