16 Everyday Tasks, and What They Feel Like for a Person With Chronic Pain
When you have a chronic pain condition, it can often impose certain limitations on your abilities. But as those living with pain day in and day out know, this doesn’t just mean you might not be scaling Mt. Everest anytime soon. Pain can have an impact on almost every aspect of your life – even the most mundane, minute tasks other people may not give a second thought to.
Mighty contributor Candida Reece recently shared an essay detailing what 50 everyday tasks feel like for her as someone with fibromyalgia. “Most may seem dramatic to you if you don’t have chronic illness, but I promise they really aren’t exaggerated much at all,” she wrote.
We wanted to shed some light on the reality of what it’s like to go about your life with any type of pain condition, so we asked our Mighty community to share an everyday task they struggle with, and what this task feels like for them because of their chronic pain.
To all the chronic pain warriors out there fighting just to get through each day, we see you. You’re not alone.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
1. Getting Out of Bed
“Getting out of bed means I need to be prepared for a high level of pain to start with, which often means I don’t want to leave my bed at all.” – Jen A.
“That moment when you wake up that day and try to figure out how you actually feel, how bad is the pain? How much energy do I have? Can I actually get up today? That task is the hardest for me!” – Charis W.
“Getting out of bed. Even on a good day it’s always painful, slow, and I’m grateful for my [medication].” – David N.
“I’d say one of the hardest tasks to do is get out of bed. I’m always in pain [and] so stiff when I wake up. I feel like I’m 80 even though I’m only 36. I just sit on the edge of the bed and count down and just push myself up, take a deep breath and pat myself on the back. I’ve started another day! I did it!” – Jen K.
2. Taking a Shower
“Taking care of myself, just regular showering or bathing feels like a marathon.” – Lenthe S.
“Taking a shower – relaxing and comforting to most people, but horribly painful and tormenting for my CRPS. I have to shield the area of my body affected with severe neuropathy from the forceful spray pelting it. It is never a refreshing experience.” – Terri T.
3. Getting Dressed
“I struggle with the basic task of getting dressed as sometimes I can’t lift my arms up, or my skin sensitivity is too much to be able to wear clothes. It feels like my body is burning while being hit repeatedly.” – Abi S.
“Laying on floor in order to dress.” – Sky C.
4. Tying Your Shoes
“Tying my shoes feels like an acrobatic mission. I was always trying to find an easier way to keep ahold of the laces then I had to switch to elastic laces.” – Megan G.B.
5. Fixing Your Hair
“Styling my hair used to be a big one. I say used to because the pain from doing my hair (drying it, straightening, ponytails, etc.) was too much… so I chopped off my long hair into a pixie cut! I miss my long hair a lot at times, but my arms just couldn’t take it.” – Jessica
6. Brushing Your Teeth
“Brushing my teeth. I wake up nauseous from the pain and then try to not throw up while brushing my teeth. Many days it’s a losing battle.” – Megan P.
“Chewing because I have chronic jaw pain so eating is very painful.” – Annie F.
“Standing is very painful and feels like I’m being clubbed with a baton.” – Amy C.
“I still have to work a full-time job. I find it difficult to sit or stand for more than 10 minutes at a time. The pain is so bad at times I can’t stand it! I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately.” – Karen U.
“Standing at a stove for a long while to make something to eat. I always have to sit somewhere nearby because the nerve pain in my feet makes standing in place for a long while so uncomfortable.” – Kerry
“Sitting upright in a chair. It feels bone-crushing, literally. Then tension from trying to sit still in pain eventually makes it hard to breathe.” – Jill L.
“I can’t sit for more than 10 minutes at a time, so eating, doing homework, reading, driving…” – Sarah S.
10. Going Up Stairs
“Walking up stairs feels like climbing a mountain most days, especially after a full day of work!” – Joanne S.
11. Doing the Dishes
“Doing the dishes makes my lower back feel like it’s about to break.” – Jen A.
“Doing the dishes. It makes my hands creak, my left shoulder screams and my back goes into spasm after a few minutes.” – Vikki J.
“Washing the dishes. After standing for a long time, my legs get weak and shaky. My lower back starts to ache and become painful. My upper body gets so tired and heavy and my shoulder blades start to burn.” – Terri D.
“Doing the dishes. After doing a couple of them it feels like my hands are breaking.” – Allégra E.H.
12. Washing Clothes
“Clothes washing. Bringing washing downstairs, bending down [to] put in [the] machine then taking it out and further bending to place on line or tumble.” – Joanne T.
“Just trying to lift my arms up to hang clothes on the line feels like my shoulders will dislocate and stay stuck there. Sometimes I have to use the other hand to bring my arm back down it’s so stiff.” – Susan B.
“Cooking meals. By the time I get them made I’m too tired to eat it.” –pearsonjulie4
“Cutting vegetables (sweet potatoes are the worst). I get burning in my knee and leg from standing and my neck and shoulders go into pain stabbing spasms. By the time I’m done cooking I’m in so much pain I can hardly eat anything.” – Debbie C.
14. Doing Housework
“Trying to keep up with housework. I never get ahead.” – Nikkij
15. Lifting Heavy Objects
“Lifting heavy objects and opening heavy doors. It’s agony for my sore wrists and fingers.” – Melize M.
“My shoulders and hips are shot. I get injections deep into my tissue weekly to break down the scar tissue. Lifting things, opening doors, driving long distances, sleeping are all painful.” – Allison M.
“Writing! I’m a student and taking notes in class is really hard because I have chronic finger pain which sounds really random but is actually really painful.” – Annie F.
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