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17 Things People With Chronic Pain Are Tired Of Hearing

Yep, it's real. And nope, sorry, you can't buy my drugs!

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Almost seven years ago, a work injury left me with a nasty disability called "Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy," aka R.S.D. The short version is that all the nerves from the shoulder to the fingertips of my (once) dominant hand and arm now misinterpret everything as pain.

Pain is a constant in my life; it's just a question of how bad it will be on any given day. There are some things that I know will make it worse, such as being touched, the weather, abrupt temperature changes, and stress, but there are also times where it flares up for no reason. There's no preventing it, no real control of it, no cure for it.

One thing I didn't count on, however, is how often I have to field insensitive comments from people who probably mean well, but just don't understand the nature of my illness.

Here are a few things I really wish I never had to hear again:

2. "What do you mean you can't work? You could do something."

Not many employers are eager to hire someone that is completely unreliable, may or may not show up for work on any given day, and may end up leaving at any point during the shift, due to pain flares that make functioning impossible.


4. "At least you get good drugs."

The truth is that I can choose between being a zombie, or take drugs and actually participate in my life. And the drugs honestly don't do much for the pain. Plus, there's the toll they take on my kidneys, liver, etc..


12. "Have you tried massage therapy / chiropractor / acupunture?"

A child's hand brushing mine leaves me feeling like I've been scrubbed down with sandpaper. No way on Earth could I handle being massaged, adjusted, or having needles stuck in me.

13. "Have you tried [insert herbal supplements here]? It'll CURE you!"

This usually involves a story about someone's sister's neighbor's cousin's girlfriend's Mom's brother's nephew. It's weird how my experienced medical specialists haven't heard about this miracle cure!

14. "I have a whole church praying for you! You just don't have enough faith!"

Fox TV /

One thing that's not awesome is you calling my personal beliefs into question and sharing my story with an entire church of people I've never met — without asking.


I'm not asking for special treatment, or for anyone to kiss my butt.

And it's okay to ask questions when you'd really like to know more about my experience. All I'm asking is for folks to use a bit of common sense, a filter, and not assume that because I have a disability, I owe them explainations, details of my medical history, or a tour of my private life.