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Metaphoring into pain

By Sonya Huber

Writing about pain–describing it–has been said to be an impossible challenge, but participants in the U.S. Pain Foundation’s webinar on writing pain through metaphor have proved that assumption wrong. During the webinar, I shared steps that I used in the writing of the essay collection Pain Woman Take Your Keys, including focusing on a particular pain sensation, describing it with an everyday metaphor, and then carrying that metaphor forward and playing with language in order to further explore and capture the sensation. While this helps a reader without pain to also understand the chronic pain experience, it also helps the writer to know their pain and in some cases to be less overwhelmed by it, as metaphors help us familiarize the pain experience.

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Gift guide for people with pain

By Janet Jay

The holiday season is here and with it, the need for gift ideas! If you’ve got someone with chronic pain in your life– or if you have chronic pain yourself– here are some ideas to make life a little easier. The products were selected by U.S. Pain Foundation staff, the majority of whom live with chronic pain.

1. Weighted blankets 

Sleep is essential to healing, but can be hard to come by for people in chronic pain. Weighted blankets are a great option– they can be surprisingly calming, especially for people with anxiety and depression-related issues that so often go along with chronic pain.

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From left, Wade Delk of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing; Steinberg; and Elliott Warren, of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association.

As 2019 comes to a close, advocates are making a final push for Congress to hold a hearing on the Pain Management Best Practices Report, a series of outstanding recommendations for improving pain care nationally.

“If even half of the recommendations in this report were implemented, it would likely change the lives of millions of Americans who suffer with chronic pain,” says Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, who served on the task force that created the report.

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Chronic pain can make you feel insignificant. Living with limitations day in and day out, you start to believe you don’t matter as much as the next person.

But you do.

In fact, we would argue that you’re stronger and more determined than anyone. It takes immense courage and grace to live with constant pain. It means learning how to find joy in the little things and discovering meaning in even small victories, like being able to get outside for a few minutes, or having enough energy to take a shower.

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Art by Kristina Malmberg.

This year’s annual KNOWvember campaign, “Art Through Pain,” focused on how creative expression can be a useful tool for processing our experiences with chronic illness and even help us cope with daily pain.

Created by U.S. Pain Foundation, KNOWvember is a month-long educational campaign for the pain community. This year’s campaign offered virtual events, interactive social media posts, and an art submission initiative.

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A tribute to a dedicated pain warrior who passed away in 2016, The Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year Award is an annual recognition presented to a volunteer who has excelled in grassroots awareness and advocacy efforts for the pain community. The award is given to a U.S. Pain Foundation ambassador and/or advocate who inspires others to make a positive difference by aligning with the organization’s mission to empower, educate, connect, and advocate for people living with chronic conditions that cause pain.

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