City & State: Sacramento, California
Age: 56 years young
Pain warrior role: Ambassador since 2015
What type of health conditions do you live with: Chronic low back pain, leg circulation issues, leg ulcers, skin grafts, slight memory issues, edema.
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: For people just starting their chronic pain journey, I always say, “pain without humor is just painful.” What I mean by this is, even with the worst pain possible, if you never laugh, what do you have? A life of pain is difficult, so laugh. Also, you have to care for yourself before you can care for someone else.
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Pain warrior role: Advocate and chronic pain support group leader since 2017
Conditions: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and osteoarthritis.
Favorite tip: “Finding a good support group has really helped my mental health. Whether it’s online with Pain Connection or in person, feeling understood is very beneficial. Look at multiple ways to approach pain, such as meditation, physical therapy, and counseling is useful.”
Location: Tewksbury, MA
Age: 51 years old
Pain warrior role: Ambassador/advocate for 4 years
Health conditions: I have lived with Crohn’s disease, degenerate disc disease, osteoarthritis, severe muscle spasms, multi-leveled spondylosis, over-active bladder, bipolar I & II, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and PTSD.
Tips for pain warriors: “The biggest tip to anyone suffering from chronic pain or chronic illness I have would be to keep moving. Exercise, stretch, walk the dog, walk the block, or just walk to the mailbox, as long as you just keep moving.”
City & state: Los Angeles, CA
Role: U.S. Pain ambassador/advocate since 2019
Health conditions: Anxiety, endometriosis, spastic pelvic floor syndrome, IBS, Sjogren’s, and vestibular and chronic intractable migraine.
Tip for pain warriors: “I bought an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) workbook from Amazon and write in a daily gratitude journal that both helped tremendously with my depression and anxiety.”
City & State: Concord, NH
Age: 65 years old
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017
What type of health conditions you live with: Rheumatoid arthritis, spondylolisthesis, herniated disk, and IBS-C
What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Hang on to the hope and the belief that you can do this through the support and experience of others, who like you, live with chronic health conditions. You are not alone. Breathe!”
City and State: Easton, MA
Pain Warrior Role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2011.
Health Conditions: I live with chronic widespread pain due to lupus and chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis.
Favorite Tip For Those Living With Pain: “Take time every single day to remind yourself that you are a strong, brave, unique, and amazing person, who is always worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. Also, never let yourself forget that you possess an intrinsic value that exists just from you being you, and having chronic pain can never negate nor diminish this.”
City & State: Gaithersburg, MD
Age: 46 years old
Pain warrior role: Advocate since 2019
What type of health conditions you live with: Foot pain neuropathy, disc disease, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, achilles tendinitis, chronic kidney stones, kidney disease stage 3, bilateral Morton’s neuroma, depression, anxiety, degenerative disc disease, cataracts, crest disease, fibromyalgia, GERD, osteoarthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, patulous esophagus, anterior endplate bone spurring, multiple thoracic levels, venous thrombosis , chronic pain syndrome, migraine, contact dermatitis, and joint pain.
Location: Anderson, Indiana
U.S. Pain Foundation role: Ambassador since 2019
Health conditions: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, osteopenia, optic neuritis, and psoriasis
Tip for pain warriors: “I have found that pain journaling is helpful in identifying pain triggers, as well as remembering things that have helped lessen my pain in the past (it also helps my doctor). Also, I have found that having a friend who has chronic pain to lend a sympathetic ear during the rough patches helpful, especially when they care enough to call and check on you!”
City & state: Ashland, OR
Age: 52 years old
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017
Health conditions: Complex regional pain syndrome and early-onset degenerative disc disease
Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “Check your expectations. Think in moments versus days or hours (“This is a tough moment” versus: “This is a hard day”). Be empowered by choice, even in the bleakest most painful moments…choose how you are going to respond.”
Name: LaSheila Yates
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2019
Health conditions: ulcerative colitis, pelvic floor dysfunction, neuropathic pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pouchitis, cuffitis, and uveitis
Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Be kind to yourself and own your narrative. I’d spent years being angry at my body for failing me at such a young age. I had ambitions, career goals, and felt like it was taken way from me, bit by bit. I still have my rough days, but I give myself grace when times are rough. The mantras I’ve now adopted are ‘I’m owning my story and I’m owning my narrative.’ Both are sweet reminders that everything I’ve endured are part of my life’s journey. I’m Owning It!”