Expressing personal impact is always a challenge for sufferers of pain and migraine and many tend to keep the impact of the illness private in order to avoid unwanted reactions from people around them.
This stigma is explained in the latest study carried out by Debbie J. Bean et al and published in June 2022 edition of The Journal of Pain.
The highlights of the study show:
• People with chronic pain describing stigma due to their condition.
• Opioid use, mental health problems, pain beliefs, and unemployment may increase stigma.
• People may conceal pain or avoid activities to avoid stigma.
• Stigma may exacerbate disability, depression, and social isolation.
The researchers found out associations between a number of factors and stigma; in which case, use of more opiods, having a mental health condition, and being unemployed predicted more stigma. The more stigma, the more disability and depression, and the less social support available.
The other surprise finding of this study was that people living with pain try to keep it a secret and conceal it from others to prevent social judgment or stigma. Some participants described feeling very isolated and alone with their pain, while others expressed people disbelieve their pain.
Findings have same implications for those with migraine and headache disorders. Results show that assisting people with pain needs to focus on more than just biomedical or individual psychological treatments.
Intervention should include patient’s social network to encourage the people around the person living with pain to provide more support so they can be more actively engaged in life.
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