How “Spoonies” are Changing the Conversation on Chronic Pain

How “Spoonies” are Changing the Conversation on Chronic Pain

A "spoonie" is defined as a person with a chronic illness. While it can refer to any condition, it is often relating to a condition that causes extreme fatigue and may interfere with one’s ability to function normally. In short, a spoonie is an individual using the Spoon Theory to describe what they are experiencing.

This theory suggests that the amount of spoons someone has relates to how much energy they have. Sometimes you can start the day with many spoons, and other days, one may not have enough spoons to even get out of bed. It is also used to describe how chronic pain patients get so tired so easily. Some items cost more spoons that others and therefore the person doesn’t have any spoons left to finish out the day. This theory, first described by Christine Miserandino and has since been widely used on social media using the hashtag: #spoonie.

Why is this important?
Chronic pain patients often feel as though they don’t have a voice. Because they don’t show any physical symptoms, people outside of the chronic pain community might not always understand the patient. This can be troublesome and have negative mental health effects. Additionally, chronic pain research has shown that patients may be able to lower their amount of pain through therapy, so being able to speak openly about their condition to the public may be beneficial as well.

Aside from individual therapy, some patients may be able to reduce their negative emotions and stress levels through chronic pain support groups. The Pain Center of Arizona follows a mission to not only treat the pain symptoms, but also the emotional barriers of chronic pain. Spoonies help with this mission because it unites the chronic pain community online so people no longer have to feel alone. People from all over the world have a platform to talk about their struggles and how they overcome running out of spoons.

If patients find that they are starting the day with less spoons than usual due to an increase of pain and fatigue, our physicians are here to help. Our chronic pain experts can administer a variety of treatments based on what works best for you to help manage your pain and get it under control. But aside from medication, steroid injections, and surgical procedures, our physicians can help patients manage the stress of chronic pain as well. We would be happy to recommend chronic pain treatments that also help to relax the body including acupuncture, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many more. The Spoonie community has done their part to change the conversation about chronic pain and become advocates of their community, and we want to do our part to lend a listening ear to our patients as well.


If you suffer from chronic pain due to any condition or injury, find hope at The Pain Center of Arizona! Our dedicated team of board certified pain management physicians will work with you to treat your pain, increase your functionality and quality of life, and get you back into life! We have locations across Arizona, including the Phoenix metropolitan, Northern and Southern areas! We take multiple insurance plans; click here to see if we take yours! To make an appointment and take the first step toward getting back into life, call us today at 1-888-PAINCENTER. We hope to see you soon!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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