How difficult is it to live with chronic pain? How taxing is it for someone to have to carry the full weight of a chronic issue, which may have been ongoing for years, and which may have changed their lives forever?

A person may have had the strength and the willpower to lift a whole building on the palm of his or her hand, and suddenly can find themselves barely lifting a knife to spread butter on a piece of bread. As a professional who works so closely with this, I can only empathise and try to understand these people’s woes and sufferings. 

What is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain in itself is defined as being any type of pain that lasts continuously for over 12 weeks (3 months) (Treede et al., 2015). The pain may be intermittent, may come for a few days, and go for a few days, but will be ever present over the course of these 3 months, and so it will become chronic. It may affect people of all ages and of all sexes, as it does not discriminate. In fact, The World Health Organisation ([WHO], 2021) has itself discussed how Chronic Pain is a major public health problem. It affects a person on multiple levels, with these including the physical aspects, the psychological aspects, as well as the social aspects. 

Chronic Pain: The Physical and Psychological Aspects

Within the physical aspects, chronic pain may lead to further injuries, traumas, infections and various different illnesses (Duenas, 2016). Within the psychological aspects, it influences sleep, increases fear, anxiety, depression and significantly affects the persons’ coping skills (Goldberg & McGee, 2011). Finally, within the social aspects, it burdens the persons’ micro environment (closest people) such as family members and his or her social network, also causing them to withdraw from their social circles (Duenas, 2016).


There are numerous ways to reduce the various burdens of chronic pain. Relaxation techniques like mindfulness and meditation have been shown to reduce the taxing effects of the pain. Good sleep hygiene, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, as well as finding a type of exercise that suits your needs have all been shown to have positive effects. 

To conclude, I just wanted to pass on the message that whilst it may feel that way, you are not alone with your pain. Chronic pain is extremely subjective, and it affects each and every person differently. Professionals are there to help you understand the effects that your it may have on your life. Acceptance is key – and help is available that allows you to learn to live with your issues. 

Yaser Teebi works as a Clinical Psychology Practitioner at Willingness, and works with clients with complex issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, grief and cognitive impairment. Yaser Teebi has graduated from the following degrees with Merit: Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), a Master of Gerontology and Geriatrics , and a Master of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, all at the University of Malta. He is currently reading for a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Geriatrics at the University of Birmingham. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here


Dueñas, M., Ojeda, B., Salazar, A., Mico, J. A., & Failde, I. (2016). A review of chronic pain impact on patients, their social environment and the health care system. Journal of pain research, 9, 457–467.

Goldberg, D. S., & McGee, S. J. (2011). Pain as a global public health priority. BMC public health, 11, 770.

Treede, R. D., Rief, W., Barke, A., Aziz, Q., Bennett, M. I., Benoliel, R., Cohen, M., Evers, S., Finnerup, N. B., First, M. B., Giamberardino, M. A., Kaasa, S., Kosek, E., Lavand’homme, P., Nicholas, M., Perrot, S., Scholz, J., Schug, S., Smith, B. H., Svensson, P., … Wang, S. J. (2015). A classification of chronic pain for ICD-11. Pain, 156(6), 1003–1007.

World Health Organization. (n.d.). WHO issues new guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children. World Health Organization. Retrieved November 25, 2021, from