The Month Ahead: Pain Awareness and RA

  • Pain. For most of us, it's part and parcel of living with RA. For those of us whose meds work really well, pain may play a relatively small part in our lives, primarily being something that can be managed by careful attention to working within our limits. For those of us who have a lot of damage, or for whom the meds don't work, severe chronic pain can be a part of our every day. And we're not the only ones. According to the Institute of Medicine, over 100 million Americans live with serious, chronic pain and many do not get adequate treatment for their pain.


    To help bring awareness to the issues of chronic pain, treatment and what it's like to live with these types of medical issues, September has been designated as National Pain Awareness Month. To people who live with RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis, this is as important as awareness event as May’s Arthritis Awareness month. This gives us another opportunity to shine a light on the realities of RA and chronic pain. Throughout September, we'll publish posts related to this topic.

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    Sometimes, inadequate treatment results from concerns of doctors about addiction or perhaps you are yourself concerned about addiction. We have posts in the archives helping you understand the facts of narcotic painkillers and the potential for addiction. Sometimes, inadequate treatment can be related to lack of insurance and not being able to afford the care and treatment you need. Throughout the month, writers from the different HealthCentral sites will write about the financial aspects of managing chronic health conditions. We also have several posts in our archives about financial assistance programs for medication, what to do if you're not insured and the possibility of bankruptcy.


    Day-to-day living with chronic pain can be an intense struggle, but it is also possible to reduce your experience of pain by different methods of managing energy, exercise, and so on. This month, Lisa will tell us about how she uses yoga to stay flexible and manage pain. V has also found a method of managing pain, this one directly related to using the computer. She recently purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking, voice-recognition software, and will tell us more about the experience of writing by speaking. I'm going to join in on this topic, exploring how you can reassess and change your goals and how you pursue them to accommodate your pain.


    As you know, Brad has had an intense year with numerous medical challenges. He's better now and processing what he has learned from the journey. This month, he's writing about the importance of listening to your body, as well as the importance of listening to the medical experts in your life and how this can help you live better with RA and chronic pain.


    Living with RA means accommodating your disease through major life transitions. Leslie has finished her PhD and by the time you read this, she has moved to a new city! She'll tell us all about it later this month. Another life transition when you live with RA means you have to pay a lot closer attention to what's going on in your body aside from your autoimmune disease. In her second post this month, Lisa will tell us more about the importance of monitoring your cholesterol levels when you have RA.


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    Although our main focus on this site is RA, we also include other types of inflammatory arthritis in our coverage. One of those types that is near and dear to my heart is juvenile arthritis. I've lived with JA since I was four years old and am forever astonished by the changes in treatment and the support available. Still, it's a tough situation for families and much help is needed to get through it. In my second post this month, I'll post a review of a great new book about juvenile arthritis and an interview with the woman who wrote it.


    We look forward to hearing your stories of living with chronic pain and RA, on this website, as well as on our Facebook page.

Published On: September 01, 2013