by Ruth Stella MacLean

From: Living Successfully with Chronic Pain


Sometimes the pain is worth it.

This is another aspect of chronic pain, and it’s one that often confuses those who live with us and care about us.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean. Along with not being able to run or ski or jump, I can’t dance without having a serious bout of pain. Yet, over the years, there have been moments when dancing with my husband at a party, feeling for a few minutes that I was part of the life so many people took for granted, led me to decide to dance. Why? Because sometimes the pain that follows is worth the chance to do something I love, regardless of how I will feel later.

I realize this doesn’t make much sense to those people in my life who have seen me suffer with my chronic pain, or have had to postpone going somewhere with me because of my pain.

Deciding to dance, despite the potential for pain, still allows me to enjoy my life. Like someone who eats a huge Thanksgiving dinner knows it is going to result in raging indigestion, I choose to take part in certain activities I know will cause me pain. As in the case of the person who overeats, who wants the pleasure of lots of good food and good company, the person with chronic pain also wants the chance to be included in a special event. For me, dancing is special. For others it’s gardening or some other physical activity that is generally denied them.

Besides, for just a few hours it feels good to be who you once were regardless of the resulting pain. You’re entitled to feel good, to enjoy your life, and if that means you choose to do something that you know will result in pain in order to have a positive experience in your life, then go ahead. Remember, it’s your life and your pain.