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How can long-term pain affect your daily life?

Pain can influence everyday choices. Sometimes we make choices too quickly or don't explore all the options, and we don't reach our goals.

It’s wiser, though far more difficult, to slow down, take a breath and carefully consider new things before you make a choice.

If you want to learn a little more about your pain and how it leads to and may be influenced by other problems, try completing the phrases below:

Since my pain began, I spend:

  • more time thinking about…
  • less time thinking about…
  • more time doing…
  • less time doing…

You can also download and print a How is pain influenced by additional problems chart (PDF 68 KB) if you want to write your answers down. Once you’ve filled this in, you’ll hopefully know a bit more about your experience of pain and the problems connected with it.

It’s just pain – or is it?

If your pain is a big problem, you may find that it’s connected to other issues. These could include:

  • sleeping problems
  • reduced physical activity
  • low mood
  • spending less time with others
  • missed work or retirement
  • changes in your relationships or sex life
  • difficulty with concentrating and remembering
  • additional symptoms like fatigue or weight gain
  • side-effects from medications or other treatments.

You may even feel that these are bigger problems than the pain.

When we focus on things we’re unable to do, we tend to feel low, frustrated and anxious. But it’s useful to recognise these feelings as legitimate and even useful. This depends on our ability to approach or confront them.

If we can confront the feelings linked with life’s challenges, we can look more closely at the challenges themselves. By looking closely at things that are difficult, we can learn how they happen and deal with them better.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.