Pain does not just affect the body.

It also affects how people feel emotionally. People can experience many losses because of pain, for example jobs, finances and home life, which sometimes leads to loss of confidence and low self-esteem.

Thought patterns can become negative, low and full of frustration. Pain can take over, disrupting sleep, making tempers short and memory and concentration poor. Such feelings can also affect peoples’ ability to cope with pain and even the levels of pain experienced.

Nearly all of the people that we talked to said that pain affected them emotionally. The worst time for many people was going through the frustrating and often unsuccessful process of searching for a diagnosis and treatment for their pain. In the early stages people were anxious about the cause of pain and frightened at the prospect of worsening pain, particularly when they experienced a flare-up.

Often people felt disbelieved by the medical profession and even doubted themselves. One woman described how she stopped taking her medication to see if it was all in her head.

People living with chronic pain may be able to manage their symptoms through lifestyle changes. For example, regular aerobic exercise may help reduce some symptoms of chronic pain. Exercise may also boost your mood and help treat your depression. Talk therapy may also be helpful in treating your chronic pain.

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