Chronic pain is also often invisible, and as such it can be difficult for people to explain to their loved ones or health care professionals, putting up a barrier to getting the right support and treatments.
If like me, you're not a dentist, your response may well be 'so what?' Given the level of other diseases we hear about, like ebola, that reaction is understandable. So why is oral health important, when there's so much else in the news?
I very much hope there will be a change in policy for the countries where medical cannabis is still illegal so that people suffering chronic illness can obtain the relief they rightly deserve. Why should chronically ill people suffer in silence, when there may be a solution at hand?
As I sit here and type this, I bring my consciousness unwillingly to the nagging, pulling discomfort just to the left of my upper spine, and the related headache. I am quite used to this state of affairs and cannot let it slow me down.