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Chronic Pain's Common Myths

Approximately 50 people with chronic pain were asked what they thought were some myths about chronic pain. Here are some of their answers, sorted into categories. I've added a few that I have heard others express over the years.

1. Where it is

It's all in your head
It's purely physical.

2. Doctors

Medical science can cure anything. If they can put a man on the moon, they can fix my pain.
If you are not getting a cure, someone is holding out on you.
The doctors don't care, or else they must have missed something. Maybe both
If the doctors won't explain something properly, they are hiding something
You have to know exactly what is wrong medically to get better
Doctors have all the answers.
The doctor is always right.
The doctor is never right.

3. Handling pain

Better not do things that hurt
I just have to push myself harder all the time. No pain, no gain.

4. Work

You can't work if you have chronic pain.
Besides, no one would hire you.

5. You and others

No one ever felt as bad as you. No one could understand.
If you don't get better you are either faking or else you enjoy pain somehow.
You deserve the pain because of something bad you did.
You look so good! How can you have chronic pain?
You can't have a good laugh if you are hurting
No one is as badly off as you are
I should blame myself for getting hurt. Pain is my punishment for making a mistake.
I can't do what I did before, so I must be useless
I should look miserable so that people will know I'm hurting

6. What helps

It will get better if you ignore it.
Pain medicine will definitely help chronic pain.
Nothing I do can affect my pain, it's too late.

7. What pain means

If it hurts, it is damaging you even more.
If you have pain, you can never be happy.
All pain is the same.

8. Insurance

You must live your whole life in fear of being cut off. Don't let anyone see you doing something active.
If you can do an activity once, you can do it for a living
You should be paranoid of the insurance company
Being off work because of pain is a holiday
You'll get big bucks if you hurt yourself

9. Medications

Narcotic medications are the only solution.
Narcotic medications have no side-effects.
Reducing narcotics will increase your pain
Pain killers kill pain
If I hurt, I should take a pill
You need to be crazy to take an antidepressant.
You will get addicted if you take narcotic medication.
Taking medication would mean I'm weak. I'm not a "pill person".
Medications are all the same, and all useless.

10. Exercise

All exercises and physiotherapy are the same
All exercise makes pain worse
All exercises are equally effective / ineffective.
If it hurts to exercise at the start, it always will

11. Pain management

Don't pace yourself. Work on and on and push yourself harder through the pain
The pain is someone else's fault; let them do something about it
If you manage your pain, it disappears
Pain management can't help
There is always someone who knows better than you what you should do
Pain is stronger than my will