Chronic pain affects more people than cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke combined. The Institute of Medicine estimates there are more than 100 million sufferers in the United States, costing the nation as much as $635 billion a year in medical treatment and lost productivity.
Whether you have lived with chronic pain for a few months or many years, the tasks detailed here may seem daunting. The Mayo Clinic encourages chronic pain sufferers to reach out for professional help, saying: “Your physical health can directly affect your mental health. Denial, anger and frustration are common with chronic illnesses. . . . A therapist, counselor or other professional may be able to help you put things in perspective. They also may be able to teach you coping skills, such as relaxation or meditation techniques.”