The Truth About What It's Like to Live With Different Kinds of Pain

I deal with several different types of pain with having mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), gout and scoliosis. Here is a list of just some of the pain I may experience on any given day:

Arthritis Pain

On the outside it literally looks like nothing – maybe a swollen joint, possibly a little stuffiness.

On the inside it honestly feels like someone has shoved two needle-ridden splints under my skin on the side of the joint that happens to be hurting, which truly can be any part of my body that has a joint, which is literally everywhere. The more I think about moving that specific area of my body, the deeper the needles dig into the ligaments and muscles, which causes everything to swell and become stiff.

Gout Pain

On the outside, it looks swollen and red sometimes and can be warm to the touch.

On the inside, there’s a little witch sitting in the infected area creating and mixing her painful potion, which I’m fully convinced includes glass and lava, just stirring away, and if I try to move the area it sends beams of pain into the rest of my entire body!


Though these are not types of pain, it is a part of having lupus:

Brain Fog

On the outside: a little confused look on your face.

On the inside: the feeling of cluelessness beyond any form of human tolerance, seeing your brain firing up and nothing coming out except for “ummmm.”

There’s no way to avoid this happening. I honestly just use the time to stop thinking and rest. It can be nice to know you can’t think (helps with my anxiety).


On the outside it can look like laziness because I can’t move.

On the inside: for me, the pain gets worse as I go along with the day. With the way it goes, it may start with a little bit of wet cement wrapping around my spine, but by the end of the day it literally feels like a 20-pound bag of cement has hardened in my back and I’m forced to do nothing but lay there and look as normal as possible.

I hope this will help someone who lives pain-free take another look in a positive light at people who deal with pain every single day. I know this is
only my opinion on how my pain feels and that everyone is different. There is never an easy way to explain pain but I hope this helps my fellow chronic pain warriors laugh and smile knowing you’re not alone!

Getty Image by lupashchenkoiryna

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Pain

raging kakapo pain relief cream, neck wrap and japanese mint oil

14 Products That Can Make Mornings Easier If You Have Chronic Pain

When asked what the hardest part of the day is, many chronic pain warriors agree that those first few minutes (or hours) after you open your eyes in the morning are unequivocally the worst. Maybe your joints and muscles feel stiff after lying still all night, or maybe the morning chill is causing an increase [...]
Changing sheets on a bed.

Changing Sheets and the 'Little' Big Challenges of Chronic Illness

This morning I had to change my bed sheets. It has been quite a long time since the last sheet change. I put it off because it takes so much out of me to do. It seems like such a little thing, but it wears me out. It takes me about two hours to do [...]

6 Frustrating Aspects of Being a Young Person With Chronic Pain

“You’re too young to have those problems!” “It can’t be anything serious, you’re only in your 20s.” As a young person who struggles with chronic pain, I often hear these comments from others older than me, implying that age somehow correlates with health, and by extension, you can’t have serious health problems until you’re older. As any [...]
A woman with a serious expression sitting by a window.

Why I Don't Consider My Chronic Pain a ‘Gift’

“It must be so nice to be able to sit at home all day long and do nothing!” “You’re lucky, aren’t you?” “It must be nice to have other people cook and clean for you.” “Attention is nice.” “You can probably just get out of anything using your chronic pain as an excuse, even if [...]