Welcome to Pain Awareness Month on HealthCentral’s rheumatoid arthritis (RA) site As we start to rev up again after the long, lazy days of August, we move into another awareness event that is important for people who live with RA. We marked Arthritis Awareness Month in May and Juvenile Arthritis Month in July. This month, we are committed to bringing you content that can help you raise awareness about chronic pain, as well as ideas for how to deal with your pain.
Pain is a uniquely singular and in many ways lonely experience — it exists within you and no one else can see it. It can make it very difficult for others to understand what your pain is like, which is one of the frustrating aspects of living with RA. Later this month, I’ll write about explaining your pain to others.
One way to make pain become real to others is through art. An artistic rendering on pain can sometimes convey the reality of the feeling in ways words cannot. Creativity can also be incredibly useful in terms of coping with pain. Britt will explore how in her September post.
Art is about emotions, not logic, and it can also be a useful tool in processing feelings associated with being in pain and having a chronic illness. Marianna is going to take a more in-depth look at how to move through the anger and resentment that can accompany living with RA. Leslie is also going to talk about the emotions that are part of the challenges of RA when she writes about grief.
In her second post, Leslie is taking a closer look at an issue that affects many people with RA, namely the inability to find a rheumatologist to treat them. What are the causes and how do you find a good rheumatologist? Hand in hand with the difficulty in finding a rheumatologist can be the issue of not being able to get your pain treated. I’ll take a look at how to solve that problem this month.
We are also going to talk about tools to help you live better with RA. A couple of months ago, Vanessa got custom orthotics for her shoes. Did it make a difference in her pain levels and ability to walk? Stay tuned to find out! On the other end of ability is the fact that sometimes, RA progresses to the point where walking is difficult. Also this month, I’ll write about how to know it’s time to get a wheelchair.
You can stay in touch with all of us here on the RA site by subscribing to the RA newsletter or the writers’ articles (go to our profiles to subscribe). You can also follow our Facebook page to see when our articles are published and to participate in discussion. As always, you can ask questions of writers and the community in our Q&A section. We love to hear from you!
Lene Andersen is the Community Leader for HealthCentral’s RA Community. Lene (pronounced Lena) is an award-winning writer, health and disability advocate, and photographer living in Toronto. She’s written several books, including Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tools for Managing Treatment, Side Effects and Pain, and 7 Facets: A Meditation on Pain, as well as the award-winning blog, The Seated View. Follow Lene on Twitter @TheSeatedView and on Facebook. Watch her story on HealthCentral.