top of page
  • Jean Jordan

The Lonely Nature of Chronic Pain - Hidden and Silent

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

chronic pain is an invisible disability and makes you lonely
Loneliness makes chronic pain worse

I'm in Pain All Day and Every Day - But No-one Knows

In this blog I bring to light an issue that is seldom mentioned but it can be daily part of having constant, recurring or what doctors call 'chronic pain'.

This is a conversation I had with one chronic pain client.

She said “I’m in pain all day”.

“So, that’s from the time you wake until you go to sleep?” I asked.

“Yes” was her reply.

My work can be confronting at times, especially during the first few consultations with a new client.

So many of you who have persistent pain have a half-life, a lonely life, as many of the activities you love to do are no longer possible. But the most surprising aspect is that few people have the opportunity to discuss with family and friends how awful the pain is, maybe often a nine or ten out of ten!

No-One Can See Your Chronic Pain

Pain is so lonely, so isolating - you look fine, maybe you have trouble moving, maybe a little bit slow but there's really nothing to show all the pain that you are feeling inside.

Physical Pain You Can See Gets Sympathy

Chronic pain cannot be seen unlike a broken arm that's in plaster.
Physical pain you can see gets sympathy

If you have a broken arm, in plaster or in a sling - people will hold the door open for you, help your carry shopping or a suitcase.

But what if you couldn't lift your shopping bag because your arm was too painful, would anyone help you.

Well of course not, no one would know that you are in pain unless of course you decided to hold your arm, moan, groan and really put on what could be called a painful looking performance!

Of course, that's a laughable idea that you can go around showing people you are in pain and really struggling to do daily activities. But it shows one of the major problems with having chronic or persistent pain. It's invisible!

The Lonely Life of Pain

Although this article is about living alone with pain this doesn't mean:

  • you live on your own - there are family in the house

  • you don't go to work - do you say 'I'm fine'?

  • that you’re not surrounded by people every day.

With people around you but the pain is invisible out comes the fake smile.

“How are you?” colleagues ask.

“I’m fine” you reply.

Pain is so lonely, so isolating - do people want to hear about your pain, how you really feel?

Wouldn't it be great if it was acceptable to just 'say it like it is', though people would just think, or say - take a pill, a pain-killer. You wish!!!

Being at Work and Being in Pain - Constant Pain

Chronic pain - or persistent pain is an epidemic, especially when many pain suffers find that medications, that many of us take for granted if we have an headache, such as a hangover. These pain killers do not work. Pain stays.

You are likely to have a colleague in just this situation. If they don't want you to know - you will not know! Care has to be taken that work comes first, or getting the job done - a real challenge if you have pounding or burning pain.

This article gives you more insight to fellow workers or your employees who have been given a chronic pain diagnosis.

Stressed at work when hiding chronic pain from workmates
Working when you are in constant unremitting chronic pain

Pain is with you all the time.

Pain - my unwanted constant companion.

Instead of pain - imagine a fly, definitely an unwanted companion.

Bothered and stressed by chronic pain that no-one know about
Constant pain is like a fly that won't leave you alone

Morning, noon and night (as the saying goes), let's imagine you had one of those lazy summer flies, slowly circling your head, coming to land on your hand or even your dinner, slowly moving until you try to swipe that darn fly.

The fly dodges, just slips out of reach - then back again, round and round, impossible to rid yourself of the fly.

You wake up in the morning; the fly is there, when you’re having a shower maybe get some respite from the fly. But getting dressed again back comes the fly and it's really annoying especially as you put on your clothes and get ready for work.

So why am I using the analogy of a fly. Well you don't control the fly just like you cannot control your pain.

Lydia and many other clients have said as soon as they wake up the pain is there, just as it was when they went to sleep. So that is saying the first thing on their mind is the pain in their body every morning.

One solution that can make waking more enjoyable - try using a flower by the bedside - read the full story of using nature to heal us.

Cheer yourself and distract from your chronic pain
Keep flowers by your bed to relieve your morning chronic pain

Talk about ‘soldiering on with a cold’ many people ‘soldier on’ with high levels of chronic pain, maybe in one part of their body or in many parts of their body.

I watched a video made by UK Pain Concern that describes the medical go round for those of you that have long term pain - click here to hear her story

She feels so unreliable and everyone is missing out because of her, feels she is unimportant - asking doctors and clinicians to 'listen to her' and she is being pushed around.

If you have a friend or family member who has chronic pain it would be useful for you to watch this video - it would really help your understanding.


This article could have a variety of different readers. If you are living with pain, I hope reading this will be some small consolation and there are many clinicians who can understand, will listen and suggest ideas that could help.

If you are resposible for a group of people at work, time to check who might be facing these daily challenges - but beware, for someone to admit they have chronic pain is difficult, as admiting to having health problems may not be condusive for career progression!

Finally if you are a clinician try to find lonely moments in your own life - it may give you empathy or at least encourage you to listen.


Jean Jordan

Want to find simple effective ways to reduce your chronic pain without increasing your stress and overwhelm? This is where I can help! Ideas can be found in the articles on my website. You can sign-up to regular updates or spend time using some of the collection of self-help techniques. After over 20 years of having my own pain clinics pain clinics I started natural pain solutions to reach more people, rather than one person at a time. Therefore when I completed my postgraduate pain management studies I wanted to spread the word about holistic self-help techniques that people can use at home. Learn more about me here.


Information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a diagnosis or medical advice. Any health problems or concerns should be taken to a qualified health professional.

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page