Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain

Treatment for chronic illness and chronic pain is available. The staff at the Center for Growth, located in Philadelphia, define the following terms. * Chronic illness: lasting for more than three months. * Chronic pain: persisting longer than the temporal course for a natural healing process. Chronic illness and chronic pain are silent problem. Pain is not seen. Chronic illnesses, like fibromyalgia are not seen. They are mostly felt. However others cause a change in physical appearance. Chronic illness, or chronic pain can leave a person feeling emotionally and physically drained, leading to feelings of frustration, being ‘damaged goods,’ and depression. The day to day realities of life can become a struggle. Common conditions that people seek treatment for are: * chronic fatigue * back pain * headaches * cancer Negative side effects of chronic conditions: * Financial instability – often people have to take time off from work to manage their condition, or if they are lucky enough to continue working, they might find themselves unable to maintain the same pace at work. * Relationship problems – partners often do not understand, feel helpless or simply do not want this in their life, so they leave. * Sleep deprivation – healing from pain and illness frequently requires more sleep. Sleep is a body’s natural way to fight off illness & pain. * Poor self-esteem – often people feel like damaged goods. They stop feeling like they are as good as the next person. It becomes harder to ask for what you want because you are constantly having to thank people for all of their help regarding your chronic pain. * Anger – often people become angry at themselves or at the world for having to live this way. Learning to manage your very real and often appropriate anger can help. * Stress – managing the day to day realities is stressful. Again, help is available. While therapy can not ‘cure’ the illness or illness, therapy can help reduce the negative side effects by about 5-15%. Given the lack of control that chronic conditions create, having an extra 5% back can make a world of difference to the situation.