This time of year is always a challenge for me. The cooler weather leads to increased spasticity. In the Winter, I spend a lot of time indoors because it is challenging to move around in the cold. Extreme temperatures make moving much more difficult than it usually is.
Pain is typically described on a subjective level. Still, it can also be defined by the behavioral response it evokes, such as the motivation to be pain-free by any means necessary.
In a study conducted by the University of Alberta in 2007 at the university’s Multidisciplinary Pain Centre in Edmonton, Canada, two-thirds of chronic pain participants had significant impairments of attention and memory when examined.
Drs. Bruce D. Dick and Saifudin Rashiq appear to have focused on one of the cognitive processes impacted by chronic pain after evaluating 24 patients. Pain, according to their results, may impair the maintenance of the memory trace, which is required to hold information for processing and maintain it for storage in longer-term memory stores. In other words, persistent pain can distract people.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 21% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, resulting in a 42-minute sleep deficit every night on average. For me, not getting enough sleep also exacerbates the symptoms of my depression. It leaves me sad and frustrated.
Pain also affects my relationships as well. I don’t make many social plans if I am in pain or fatigued I can’t stay out with my friends until midnight, as many 23-year-olds can. I don’t like going out to bars or shows late on weekends. You will rarely see me at the movies after 8:00.
Living with pain is a never-ending battle to combat the physical pain as well as the mental and emotional consequences. Attempting to treat all symptoms at the same time can be difficult. I am haunted by memories of earlier pain episodes. Such as the time I spent at Children’s Hospital Boston, where the pain was so severe that it moved me to tears. Pain is like an unwelcome guest who won’t leave. Coping with it is difficult, but I make it through every day.
Cell Press. “Hurts so good: Chronic pain changes brain response to acute pain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414122637.htm>.
The University of Alberta. “Chronic Pain Can Impair Memory.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070517142536.htm>.
Pacheco, Danielle. “Pain and Sleep: Common Sleep Disturbances &Tips.” Edited by Dr. Anis Rehman, National Sleep Foundation, OneCare Media, 29 Apr. 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/pain-and-sleep.