Pain is invisible but still real.
One of the strangest things about pain is that there is no good way to measure it, with any accuracy, and no technology or machinery yet designed that can tell us how good or bad someone’s pain is.
Over the years this has created many issues for those with pain, with the most common one being that people with chronic pain are sometimes simply not believed. However, with no way of measuring it, the only certain way of diagnosing it is by asking people how they are feeling.
One of the causes of the problem is that pain is impossible to see. Just as with the disparity in how aware people are of those with physical disabilities and illnesses compared to similarly serious mental ones, it seems to make it harder for people to recognise someone suffering when they can’t actually see the problem in front of them.
The first thing I teach all my students when we work with pain is to believe everything that a patient reports to you about how they’re feeling. The human brain and nervous system are one of the most sensitive measuring devices we have and if it is reporting pain, then there is a good reason for that.
So if you’re someone who has been experiencing symptoms that can’t be measured and nobody else can feel and have found some people unwilling to accept what you’re feeling, then you’re not alone.
There are thousands of illnesses that aren’t easy to see, and although they’re invisible, they are still real health conditions that are important to help.