Low pain tolerance…


So I’m used to pain. No, I don’t have a low pain threshold…or I don’t think I do.  How do you measure that anyway?  Isn’t that just a cop out for people who aren’t in pain to explain why I think I am?  Oh, she’s just got a low pain threshold.

Shyah, right.

Let me put lead weights on your shoulders, and tie an anchor to your hips.  I’ll ram a screwdriver into your lower spine, and put marbles in your shoes.  I’ll cuff your wrists with steel bindings, and I’ll periodically tighten them during the day.  Oh, and your knees…what shall I do to your knees?  I’ll just inject some battery acid, see how that feels?  Then we can talk about pain from a similar viewpoint.  Anyway, that’s day to day stuff.  That’s not even a flare.  A flare is *really* bad.

So imagine if you felt like this every day.  And every night – don’t forget the nights!  When it’s dark and quiet and there’s nothing to take your mind of the aches in your body.  It’s so much worse.  So you don’t sleep either.  Add sleep deprivation to the list,  And remember, sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture!!!

And then, when you’re having a particularly bad day, and you just can’t help yourself, you actually mention the pain.  Yes, you COMPLAIN about it…looking for..what?  Sympathy?  Understanding?  Support?  Something like that.  So you complain to your dear friend who should know what you go through each and every day.

And she says “I wish we could do something to improve your pain tolerance. “

And then she raves on about giving birth without any drugs and how tough she has always been.  There’s more, but you can’t listen anymore, because you feel like you’ve just been kicked in the gut by an elephant.  Not sure if it’s because of the complete lack of understanding  or the implication that you’re a malingerer, and just a sissy.

So, I’ve given birth too… and arthritis pain is worse.  Much worse.  One reason it’s worse, is because there’s no upside.  When you are giving birth you know you are getting a big prize at the end – a baby.  You love him/her so much, you forget the pain.

Another reason childbirth is not as terrible is because you know the pain will end.  And you know that it will end in hours, at the most.  The really painful part of giving birth is actually only a few minutes…so when people complain about 40 hour labours, most of it isn’t bad pain. Pain, yes. But not bad pain.

With arthritis the pain doesn’t end.  Sure, it improves some days, but it never goes away.  And it might be there forever.  You go into a bad, bad full body mega flare, and each time you’re afraid that this time it won’t end.  Prednisone won’t get you back on your feet.  Or any other medication for that matter.  The opioids (oxycodine, morphine) take the edge off, but they don’t kill the pain.  You are doomed to live in agony forever.  There’s real fear there.

And you think about the last long flare you had.  Was it months?  Was it years?  You never know how long you will be down for.  Child birth ends relatively quickly.  Broken limbs heal.  Chronic pain stays.  That’s kinda the definition of ‘chronic’.

And just because I don’t look like I’m in pain to you, doesn’t mean I’m not.  It’s just that I usually don’t complain.  Because if I do, someone will accuse me of having a low pain tolerance!



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