The Unspoken Reality of Chronic Pain: Nine in Ten Aussies Suffer Daily - Hope 103.2

The Unspoken Reality of Chronic Pain: Nine in Ten Aussies Suffer Daily

93% of Australians experienced chronic pain in 2023, and yet, most don’t talk about their experiences openly with family or friends. Ben Nihill shares his story.

By Georgia FreeTuesday 12 Dec 2023Hope DriveHealth and WellbeingReading Time: 2 minutes

We all get pains and niggles from time to time, but experiencing daily, chronic pain can be completely debilitating. People are often left feeling like no one quite understands their experience, leading to further isolation and suffering. However, new research that shows that 93% of Australians experienced chronic pain in 2023, and yet, most don’t talk about their experiences openly with family or friends.

20-year-old Ben Nihill has fibromyalgia and has experienced widespread, chronic pain and fatigue since his early teenage years. Ben joined Hope Drive to discuss his journey with chronic pain and how we can start a more open dialogue around the subject.

Ben’s pain journey

When diagnosed with pain condition fibromyalgia at eighteen, Ben had already been in constant pain for four years. By this stage, he had finished school, and was almost completely bedridden. While his friends were starting university or jobs, Ben instead fell deeper into isolation and depression.

“When I left high school, it felt like I was being left behind,” Ben said.

“It was very difficult to try and pick myself up.

“The social isolation made me very depressed, and I dealt with a lot of anxiety on top of that.”

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Ben went through a long period with no friends, as he was too unwell to maintain relationships. However, he has now reached a point where he is managing some symptoms well and has made new friends which are supportive of his condition.

“I’ve done physiotherapy for past four years,” Ben said.

“Sugar and processed foods directly impact some of my symptoms…so I’ve cut those out of my diet.

“I’ve also had to manage my life, figuring out what I can do and what I can’t.”

“If you have a friend with chronic pain, just listening to what they’re going through can go a long way.”

Starting the conversation

The majority of Australians will experience chronic pain at some point in their lives, and yet pain is still considered quite taboo. Ben encourages people to simply listen and ask questions of their friends and loved ones going through pain.

“A lot of my friends when I was younger, wouldn’t really understand what I was going through,” Ben admitted.

“If you have a friend with chronic pain, just listening to what they’re going through can go a long way.”

“Asking questions can also be a gateway to further conversation”

Ben also has some encouragement to those currently on a journey with chronic pain.

“You’re not alone,” Ben said.

“It feels very isolating and that no one understands what’s happening.

“But there are people out there who are dealing with similar things, that have made improvements.

“It can take a while to make changes and find ways that work for you, but there is hope.”

Listen to Ben’s full interview on Hope Drive in the player above.