Chronic Pain – Discrimination and Stigma Exist
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain occurs when the pain of an injury continues longer than three months. This pain can often continue after an injury has healed, after the underlying condition has healed, and can have no known cause. It can be exhausting to be in chronic pain and can impact mood and sleep compounding the exhaustion.
Chronic pain is often invisible which means that people around you aren’t aware of the burden you carry and may not be patient with your needs.
Are certain groups more likely to suffer from discrimination and stigma?
The stigma and discrimination that people with chronic pain face are real. It makes accessing health services and challenging, discouraging and ultimately unhelpful. This results in a negative impact on:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Emotional health
- Job security and finances may be jeopardized
- Social and family interactions may suffer
- Your sense of self and faith may be tested as you lose yourself in pain
Chronic pain and mental health decline can also be linked to increased rates of self-medication, drug abuse and addiction according to medical experts and the National Institutes of Health.
The discrimination can be compounded if the person suffering from chronic pain is also a member of a group that already suffers from some kind of discrimination according to the Government of Canada. These groups of especially susceptible individuals include:
- Indigenous Peoples
- Sexual and gender minorities
- Drug users
- People with disability
- Incarcerated individuals
- Visible minorities
- People who live with mental illness
Children and youth can also suffer from chronic pain. These patients require unique treatments and monitoring to prevent the pain from affecting physical and mental development, to prevent problems in school, and lingering issues later in life.
Some careers are more likely to create situations where the individuals suffer from chronic pain, and who continue to work with chronic pain. These professions include the trades and physical labourers.
Why is Accurate Diagnosis important?
Personal injuries from car accidents, workplace accidents, spinal cord injury, brain injury, slip and falls, and bicycle and motorcycle accidents can all result in the diagnosis of chronic pain. These injuries need to be recognized and the impact on the accident victim’s long-term well-being and ability to earn a living also need to be established.
If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own you should contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Personal Injury and Disability Law 1.866.414.4878 for your free initial consultation.