Pain Awareness Month, Take Our Hand!

 Pain Awareness Month, Take Our Hand!

By Suzanne Stewart.

Do you know that according to the Institute of Medicine, there are approximately 100 million chronic pain patients in the U.S.A.? Also, 20% of children in America have chronic pain. “Chronic pain” is described as pain that has continued for longer than 3 months. Those of us who live with pain know how much it impacts our lives and the lives of our families/friends. It affects every aspect of our lives including the ability to work, sleep and go out and have social interactions and activities. Did you know also that chronic pain costs  our nation an estimated 560 to 630 billion dollars annually in medical expenses, lost wages and productivity?

Suzanne Stewart

Well, my friends, as an Ambassador for Michigan, of the U.S. Pain Foundation, I’m here as a chronic pain patient myself to tell you that you can make a difference.  As Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist, once said, “Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.  The U.S. pain foundation which started out as one person’s dream, has turned into a mission.  One which is to  inform, empower and advocate on behalf of the over 90,000 members throughout the country and all those who live with chronic pain. The U.S. Pain foundation also provides education on pain management skills and constructive ways to cope with pain and find fulfillment in life.

We can find fulfillment in life and we can be “taken by the hand” of a beautiful non profit organization, such as this.  They help us find that fulfillment, by providing chronic pain patients with increased awareness about the effects of chronic pain.  This in turn, helps result in increase access to quality pain care and empowerment for those living in pain. So, please take our hand and join together, starting this September 1st, 2017.  This is the beginning of “PAIN AWARENESS MONTH”.  Instead of running through those Facebook, Twitter and Instagram messages from other pain warriors who are participating in “Pain Awareness Month”; why don’t you take our hand and join us?

Throughout the month there are a number of things that you can become involved with. We have many awareness events and projects that you can be a part of, right from the comfort of your own home.  If you can not get out, then join in the awareness of chronic pain online. Post Memes, stories and even your story to help make others aware of our chronic situations.  Take the negative out and add some positivity and then you will get “HOPE”. You can “Beautify in Blue”; by getting permission and then putting up ribbons and signs around your community.  Another choice, if you live near something special and beautiful, such as: Mackinaw Bridge in MI, Niagara Falls in NY, or any landmark; you can get permission and ask the city to “Light Up the Landmarks” for Pain Awareness Month.  Turn the lights blue on those landmarks and shout to the rooftops that “We are a part of the 100 million chronic pain patients in the USA and we want to be seen and heard”! There are also many other things that are very easy to do.  Please feel free to ask me about the awareness events and fundraisers for the U.S. Pain Foundation during Pain Awareness month and/or any other time throughout the year.  You can do something as easy, like I mentioned above; like posting about your pain and Pain Awareness month on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and more. The list and the possibilities are endless when you just try to make HOPE a verb and DO something about it.

Pain Awareness month will start on September 1st, 2017.  It continues throughout the entire month of September each year. It doesn’t stop for us, after the month of September has ended.  We continue to support and empower you throughout the months and years. Consider being a part of something bigger and better. Think about joining a wonderful “family” of pain warriors who all help each other and help others as well.  My hero, Helen Keller, once said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.  So starting with this September, let’s all join forces and let the rest of America and the world know who we are and what chronic pain is all about.  We need you and who doesn’t like to be needed? (For information about PAM please contact me at: @PeopleInPainUnite or @RASEforCRPS on Twitter or my email at: You may also contact the U.S. Pain Foundation at:

Suzanne has lived with a Systemic CRPS & several other chronic pain illnesses since a MVA in 2002. Prior to being disabled from chronic pain, she was an Interpreter for the Deaf at a hospital & worked with Deaf children. Since 2005, Suzanne’s been a patient Health advocate, support group leader & Mentor.  She continues doing these things today, but also does public speaking, awareness events and she’s a Writer/blogger & an Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation. 

For entertainment she creates advocacy videos & uplifting ASL cover song videos on You tube and she writes in her own blog Tears Of Truth. You can follow her here: ).

Authored by: Suzanne Stewart

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Reading the responses to this article shows the cynicism and frustration so many of us have regarding the state of pain awarness today. Pain has become another 4 letter word, physicians cringe avoid and dismiss those that dare use it and society thanks to the media brands those suffering as junkies failures or people in need of yoga or whatever new popular scam there is for pain patients this month. We as a pain community need to get our acts together and our messaging. The message needs to be pain happens, pain is not your fault, pain is life changing and pain patients deserve treatment pain patients are not addicts they are hurting people who deserve to be treated as such with dignity and access to their life sustaining medication.

Heather, so excited for you too and for your pain community! You go girl! Crystal Murphy Jones if you email me ( I’ll send you or anyone that photo as it’s the perfect size for your facebook cover! Thank you! As for Kathy C & Dave, I’m sorry that you don’t see or feel things the same way as about 90,000 US Pain Foundation Ambassadors. I’m sorry but if one chooses to live with a “Debbie Downer” kind of outlook at the world; then you get treated as such. There are many advocates who DO make a difference. One can’t just sit back and not be an advocate and complain that others aren’t doing enough. I’ve been trained to do “in person” support groups and I’m certified. So MI will have that soon. There’s a group of many Drs, Pharmacists, PHD’s, and advocates who ARE collaborating and helping so people will be listened to once again. One person CAN make a difference. But not by complaining about others who aren’t making enough of a difference! Like I’ve said many times, “HOPE” is a Verb & you must DO SOMETHING in order to have & keep HOPE alive. I know many many advocates who are doing most of the things that I mentioned in my article! This IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE! Awareness does matter! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER & I feel empathy and empowerment every day,so the words you two say are foreign to me and the many in my crowd! It’s all about choice! You can choose to stay miserable or get out or get up or lie in your bed and DO something about it! Be a voice of positivity and not negativity! If you feel negative then turn that energy into something for the good of yourself and others. I have 4 support groups online and I see ppl say they’re in pain or make negative comments sometimes. It’s inevitable, but giving them empathy and a listening ear works wonders! I, for one, have NEVER been called a catastrophe maker or a malingerer or anything of a sort. You just can’t be a victim in your mind and start using words like “I live with this and this illness” instead of “I’m a victim of… or I suffer from.. ” try to use positive word choices and do the things that you think you cannot do. You will feel empowered! Take the hand of the US Pain Foundation, as I did and as Heather has! It has proven to be the best part of my pain journey. I have a very large group of Ambassadors who are my family. Even the people who are upper level management of the US Pain Fdn., are very approachable, loveble, empathetic and kind! They literally will take you by the hand and walk you through “how to be a successful advocate” Lastly, NEVER try to squash someone else’s dreams or attempts at making things have a more positive spin. That’s just unkind, negative… Read more »

Crystal Murphy Jones

Wonderful. 😊 Is there anyway to get that picture as a banner to post on like, our Facebook walls? Appreciate you!


I have to agree with Kathy C. Pain advocates are not as successful as aids or cancer advocates. And though there are some extremely dedicated and knowledgeable pain advocates they are few and far between. In addition government and medicine still harbor terrible and cruel prejudice toward people in pain as malingering exaggerators. In fact we know well even pain specialists mislabel people in pain as catastrophizers.
Pain is a tragic reflection on modern society. Advocates need to see clearly that not only arent government and medicine no friends to people in pain but that also people in pain have neglected their own best interests by failing to be advocates. As i am the only person to now have a web page on curing pain that cuts across several pain conditions. I frankly wonder what pain advocates really want.

Kathy C

I don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer” but this “Awareness” Strategy is not working. The word Pain is being removed fro any discussion of this issue. We now have Physicians avoiding the word at any opportunity. A few well meaning “Advocates” is no match for the Industries that benefit. The current public discourse is designed to avoid any mention of Pain. They have Censored it. We have a misled easily duped public that believes they need a “Discussion” on whether children need to eat. Empathy is now a bad word. We saw pictures of the children traumatized and damaged by War. No one mentioned their Pain whether emotional or Physical. They turned it into a visual Meme.
We have Veterans coming back with horrific Injuries. they only show the nose who are doing well. they show the Struggle as they adapt with no legs or after multiple surgeries. The Veterans pain is censored.
The Medical Industry found that Pain was a dirty word. It was an indicator of failure. They found by spreading doubt about the existence of pain they could avoid their mistakes. The “Failed Surgery” has been removed from public discourse by the Media. They market ‘cures’ every day, as they peddle “innovation” and progress. They had no “Progress” for pain, though they have made false statements about everything from Yoga, to Psychotherapy. Each Industry Markets it’s own cure. This means there is none, or even any “Treatment.” If Medical Science had a cure, we would not be seeking out Snake Oil.

We need to reevaluate this “Spreading Awareness” it is not very effective. I wonder who even cae up with this. There has nto been one bit of Awareness Spread in all of these Years. The Industry had their Own Well Funded Awareness Campaign. They removed Facts, Data and Statistics, those Inconvenient. Instead they just got the Media to repeat their false Narrative. Now we have the most out of touch members of the general public regurgitating the nonsense they “heard on TV the Internet, or the “News.”


So excited! Can’t wait! As a pain ambassador in Florida I’ve already gotten 1 proclamation and waiting for the Govenor to complete the one for the state. So it’s looking bright and BLUE again this year. We must all unite together and STAND TALL, SPEAK UP, LET OUR VOICES BE HEARD, but MOST IMPORTANTLY BE OUR OWN ADVACATES!! Knowledge is power and educating yourselves is the key! Thanks