Modern Life - Statement Supporting Research
Physical discomfort, generally referred to as pain, has a direct impact on a person's quality of life. Those suffering from physical discomfort frequently experience profound changes to their personalities, strained relationships with family and friends, and a decline in work performance. Ultimately, they are unable to be their most optimal selves because their lives become hyper-focused on the pain.
CHANGES IN INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
- When experiencing physical discomfort, a person's role within the family structure often changes. When pain causes an individual to be unable to perform tasks at home, others must now take on these additional responsibilities. This not only causes tension in relationships, but also prevents the person suffering from fulfilling the duties of their normal roles successfully and leads to feelings of guilt.
- Physical discomfort often eliminates the pleasures associated with sexuality. Pain may cause a decreased libido, a change in the ability to become aroused, and physical discomfort during intercourse. Medications taken to ease physical discomfort may also contribute to this lack of intimacy.
- Persons in pain do not communicate optimally with their loved ones. Those suffering often exhibit poor, limited, or inaccurate communication with their loved ones, particularly with regard to their suffering. Instead of embracing an honest dialogue, individuals experiencing discomfort sometimes exaggerate their pain to ensure that they receive the sympathy or care they need. They also will minimize their pain so their loved ones will not worry.
- It is common for those in physical discomfort to be more reactive and hyper-sensitive. Minor disagreements with family and friends are therefore more frequent.
- Isolation is frequently experienced by those suffering from physical discomfort. With combative and antagonistic behavior, others may choose to avoid individuals in pain. In some cases, those in pain will self-isolate.
MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS
- The most common result of physical discomfort, particularly when chronic, is depression. According to the American Chiropractic Association, people with chronic pain are 3 to 4 times more likely to suffer from depression than those in the general population.
- Pain causes people to limit their sense of adventure because their lives are permeated by thoughts of fear and pain.
- Rather than embracing life optimistically, people in physical discomfort are negative and pessimistic.
- Many individuals in pain suffer from chronic anxiety. One individual described her experience with anxiety as "magnificently destructive, but when combined with chronic pain it becomes paralyzing."
DIFFICULTY IN THE WORKPLACE
- Experiencing physical discomfort can cause people to quit their jobs. This decision is either voluntary or at the recommendation of a physician. Loss of employment not only leads to financial strain, but also a decline in self-worth.
- Work performance often plummets, as individuals in pain have difficulty managing stress, concentrating, or meeting deadlines. Pain frequently leads to fatigue and the inability to focus, both of which negatively impact quality of work.
- Physical discomfort requires slow, deliberate movements for all activities of daily living, including work. One individual who suffers from chronic physical discomfort expressed that this "pacing" is not about mindfulness, but about evading and minimizing pain. While less conspicuous at home, a slow work pace can cause animosity between colleagues and often leads to a decline in productivity.
- A less than optimal work performance requires co-workers to take on the duties of the person experiencing physical discomfort. This leads to tension between coworkers and a change in the workplace role for the individual suffering.
In order to carry out this research, we first determined that the term"pain" is a suitable substitute for physical discomfort. This enabled us to review medical research and publications associated with pain and behavior. We also located several personal accounts of individuals suffering from physical discomfort. We could not locate any research on whether individuals realize that they are less like themselves when they are in pain. There is, however, an abundance of information about the impact on quality of life for those who suffer from physical discomfort. The three themes indicated were repeatedly found in the research we conducted.