Ending the Stigma of Pain: A New ICP Webpage

Dec 29, 2014

The stigma of chronic pain is personally hurtful. It is a negative judgment of you that others make. Specifically, stigma occurs when others judge you simply for being who you are – someone with chronic pain. You are looked down upon because of it. As such, stigma is more than hurtful. It’s shaming.

As we have seen from previous posts, stigma can also prevent those with chronic pain from getting the help that is most effective – chronic pain rehabilitation programs that focus on helping patients to successfully self-manage pain and live well despite having pain. Understandably, people with chronic pain don’t want to be blamed for their condition and so it is common to defend against the shame and blame of stigma by holding onto the belief that there is nothing they can do about their pain. The implication is that if there is nothing that they can do about it, they can’t rightfully be blamed for it. As a consequence, stigma can come to prevent people with chronic pain from acknowledging that it is possible to self-manage pain successfully – that there is something they can do about it. So, they come to be reluctant to participate in a treatment that teaches them how to do it.

Ending stigma thus has paramount importance. All stakeholders in the field have to take it on and foster change in how those with chronic pain are seen by society. We all need to find ways to overcome the negative judgment that society places on those with chronic pain.

To this end, the Institute for Chronic Pain (ICP) site has a new webpage on how to end the stigma of chronic pain. Using lessons from the past, we discuss ways to approach stigma and resolve it on both a personal level and, perhaps, even on a societal level.

Please visit our latest webpage: How to End the Stigma of Pain.

Author: Murray J. McAllister, PsyD

Date of last modification: 12-29-2014

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