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Chronic Pain – Stories Of Struggle And Hope: Part 6 - Family Impact

BOSTON (CBS) – Anyone who lives with chronic pain will probably tell you they've felt lost, misunderstood, and lonely at times. Those who live with and love those in pain often feel this way, too.

One hundred million Americans bear the burden of living with chronic pain. Their family members do, too.

Read-Listen: Chronic Pain – Stories Of Struggle And Hope: The Series

Bonnie's husband, Allen, has chronic back pain, the result of an accident. Because of that, Bonnie's been forced to do many things on her own. This makes her feel frustrated, sometimes even angry, but most of all it pains her.

"It saddens me because, I mean, it's not his fault. He didn't do anything to make this happen," Bonnie told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

In another case, Paul and Lisa were a typical happily married young couple until Lisa started suffering from chronic migraines. She was sidelined.

At times Paul felt helpless as he watched his wife struggle day after day.

"So it's not like she's losing herself, but I'm losing her a little bit," Paul said. "And then the question always comes up, is this the same person in some ways?"

Judy and Dana had young children when their life was turned upside down. Dana suffered a devastating back injury. He became a stay at home dad and Judy, became the family breadwinner.

"He's been in chronic pain for so long that he's educated the folks around us to what that means," Judy said. "It doesn't mean you're in a corner with the blankets over your head. It means that you're probably the bravest person in the room."

Everyone we spoke to says their loved one has been brave in the face of unrelenting pain, including Mary Ellen.

Her 17-year-old son, Liam suffers from a nerve condition that wreaks havoc on his entire body.

"He gets through every day with a smile on his face. And, I don't. I can't," she said. "My heart shreds when I walk in and he has two pillows holding his head together or when he can't walk down the stairs. Or he can't go to the mall."

Coming up in part seven, hear a personal struggle with chronic pain.

Listen: Part 6 - Family Impact – Stories Of Struggle And Hope

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