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January 2009


It was standing-room only on November 19, 2008 when AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians hosted a workshop entitled 'Growing Well with Pain.' Presented by Penny Cowan, executive director of the American Chronic Pain Association (ACA), this seminar for farmers in constant pain and their caregivers was held in conjunction with the PA Farm Bureau's Annual Meeting in Hershey, PA.

The room was filled with those who suffer daily from the pain of a myriad of illnesses and injuries. Also present were caregivers who watch in frustration and helplessness when there is little they can do to relieve the suffering of their loved ones.

Cowan was there to talk about the stigma often association with those coping with chronic pain. "Many people with chronic pain feel hopeless and depressed, angry, confused, guilty, and out-of control," explained Cowan. Involving the entire family and accepting the pain are the first steps to regaining control. "Often family members are experiencing the same emotions as the patient," notes Cowan.

The ACA provides a multitude of materials intended to help people understand their conditions and to assist them in communicating more effectively with their physicians. One ACA tool helps patients log their pain levels and activities on a regular basis, so they can begin to recognize peak times and activities that trigger pain. Other resources include medication logs and lists of pain medications, their indications, and side affects.

Submitted by: Crystal Smithmyer