What You Need to Know About Chronic Pain

By Sarah Elizabeth Hirschle, Guest Columnist

This is a side of my life not many know about, except close friends and family.

This is me when traveling anywhere over an hour away. I can only sit in the car for up to an hour. I was traveling to my doctor's appointment several hours away. 

I share for awareness, not pity.

In the past three weeks, I have been able to leave the house twice a week at most. Some of those days were just short car rides to get some fresh air and sun. 

This is the sad reality of so many chronic pain patients. Much more awareness is needed, especially in the medical community. 

If you have a loved one that is suffering from pain, please listen. Talk to them, let them know you care. Even if you don't know what to do to help or hate seeing them that way. 

A few things to know about chronic illness and pain:



  • The pain causes depression and depression causes pain.
  • Pain is very isolating, making patients feel unlovable and alone, when in fact we need love and companionship the most at these times.
  • True chronic pain patients who are on narcotics for pain do not get high from their meds.

When your body is under stress and in insurmountable amounts of pain, all you get from opioid medication is relief. There is a big difference between dependence and addiction.

We do what whatever is necessary to have some quality of life.

Please reach out if you know someone is suffering. You may save their life without knowing it.

Sarah Elizabeth Hirschle lives in Pennsylvania. Sarah contracted Lyme disease as an infant, which caused permanent organ damage. At age 20, her spinal cord was damaged during a botched epidural and she developed arachnoiditis.  Sarah also lives with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome in her legs and feet.

Sarah helps run a Facebook support group called Arachnoiditis Everyday and moderates the Facebook page of the Arachnoiditis Society.

Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us.  Send them to:  editor@PainNewsNetwork.org

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.