5 Common Beliefs About Chronic Pain (And Why They’re Wrong)

5 Common Beliefs About Chronic Pain (And Why They're Wrong)

Studies have shown that 11% of Americans live with a chronic pain condition. Given that chronic pain is apparently rather common, it is rather surprising that there continues to be a number of misconceptions about the condition, who it affects, and how it should be dealt with.

So, let’s try and combat the misconceptions once and for all. Below are three beliefs that many people hold about chronic pain— beliefs that, unfortunately, aren’t actually correct.

BELIEF: People with Chronic Pain Just Want Medication

This misconception has been fuelled by TV shows and movies, which depict scenes where a patient fakes chronic pain in order to receive high-strength drugs. This, however, is not reflective of reality. Many sufferers prefer not to use any prescribed drugs at all, and will instead use treatments such as yoga and massage to cope with the issues they experience daily.

BELIEF: Chronic Pain Only Affects Elderly People

Admittedly, chronic pain is more common in elderly people. This is because elderly people are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as arthritis, and will need to access senior physical therapy and other non-medicated treatments to cope with this. However, that is not to say that all chronic pain patients are elderly—  it is a condition that knows no borders or age limits and affects people across all age ranges.

BELIEF: Chronic Pain Is Severe

When people hear the term “chronic pain”, they imagine a pain that is extremely severe. This is usually due to a misunderstanding of the term “chronic”. Chronic actually just means long-term; its direct opposite is “acute”— and neither is an indicator of the severity of the pain. It can be mild, moderate, severe, and everything in between; the only key factor it needs to be considered “chronic pain” is that it has lasted over three months, and is not expected to resolve in the next six months.

BELIEF: Chronic Pain Is Non-Stop

Many people believe that if someone suffers from chronic pain, this must mean they are always in pain. While there are some conditions where this is undoubtedly true, for most sufferers, the issue is intermittent. People with chronic pain tend to have good days and bad days. On the good days, they may appear to be completely pain-free; on bad days, they may not be able to leave their bed. Either way, the level of pain is not consistent throughout their lives; it has peaks and valleys that the person with the pain has to learn to deal with.

BELIEF: Chronic Pain Cannot be Cured

Some forms of chronic pain cannot be cured, but others can. For example, if someone has a severe back problem, they can be diagnosed with chronic pain. However, if they then have surgery, the issue can be fixed, and their back will return to a strong and healthy state. While it tends to mean ongoing, that doesn’t mean there aren’t treatments available that can improve the outcome for patients.

The Pain Is Real

Chronic pain is real and affects so many people on a daily basis. If we can all learn the realities of it, perhaps we can better understand our loved ones who experience it.

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5 Facts About Your Sense Of Balance

5 facts about your sense of balance

Let’s talk about balance. Not the typical balance I talk about involving a healthy lifestyle, but your sense of balance. We don’t give it much thought except for when we trip and sometimes I’m crazy clumsy. In our day-to-day lives, we don’t think about our balance much at all, but it’s always there, keeping us upright and safe.

Balance is a core component of our physical health, and a weakened sense of balance is seen as a worrying sign. Furthermore, when we lose our sense of balance, we begin to realize how vital it is to our everyday lives. Let’s check out more about our balance, the role it plays in our health and fitness, and what to do if your sense of balance is in need of a tune-up.

5 facts about your sense of balance

Balance Is a Sense

The majority of people believe they have five senses, so the term “a sense of balance” may sound weird. However, your balance is a sense, just like hearing, touch, eyesight, and so on. We actually have far more senses than the common five most of us are taught at school, and balance is a particularly important one too.

Balance Is an Entire System

Balance is part of a bodily system known as the vestibular system. Vestibular disorders are actually rather common; examples include concussion, Meniere’s Disease, and tinnitus.

Your Inner Ears are Vital for Balance

Oddly enough, one of the primary signs of a severe ear infection is a loss of balance. This is because the inner ear plays a vital role in maintaining our sense of equilibrium, and when our inner ear is compromised, our balance suffers. 

Balance can be Improved

Many people believe that a sense of balance is innate, and your individual sense of balance is what it is and cannot be improved. “Oh, she’s always so clumsy.”  But that’s not true. There’s plenty that you can do to improve your balance. Younger people can try yoga and pilates to help improve their balance; while senior physical therapy will usually involve some element of balance work. While it may take time to improve, it is possible if you’re willing to continue to work at it.

Your Toes are Vital for Balance

Your toes have a vital role to play in maintaining your sense of balance, and particularly your big toe. When we walk or run, our big toe actually bears around 40% of our overall weight, with the rest spread between the remaining four toes. So look after your big piggie— it has a vital role to play in keeping you upright!

You Can Totally Improve Your Sense of Balance

Improving your sense of balance is totally possible. If you’ve always thought of yourself as a clutz, rest assured that you can change your balance.