Can Pain Be Classed As A Disability?

“Chronic (long-term) Pain is ongoing pain which usually lasts longer than six months. This type of pain tends to initially be caused by an injury or illness which has healed, but for which the pain has not gone away. These pain signals then remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. In other instances, people can suffer with chronic pain even where there is no past injury or body damage” [1]

Can My Long-Term Pain Be Classed as a Disability?

While in the strictest sense, long-term pain is not normally categorised as a stand-alone disability, in the majority of cases, it is a symptom of a long list of defined disabilities, such as cancer, fibromyalgia, or arthritis. It may however, be legally possible to contend that Chronic Pain is a disability under the Equality Act 2010, should you wish to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim.

So What Conditions is Chronic Pain Linked To?

•Fibromyalgia pain
•Nerve pain
•Back pain

The Effects of Chronic Pain

Long-term pain can have an extremely negative impact on every aspect of our lives, and visiting an experience Pain Specialist is the smart way forward. This is due to the fact that Pain Doctors are at the cutting-edge of the latest treatments, and for example, after you have had a consultation (either in-person or online), after the Pain Specialist has reviewed your medical history, and asked you various questions about your suffering, if necessary, they will organise an examination, and conduct certain tests. They will then devise a holistic Personalised Treatment Plan, which is likely to involve different types of conventional and state-of-the-art treatment.

The Physical Effects of Chronic Pain

•Restricted movement
•Tense muscles
•Burning pain
•Shooting pain
•Aching in different parts of the body
•Changes in appetite
•Not wanting to eat much
•Feeling drained and tired
•Poor immune functioning

The Emotional Effects of Chronic Pain

•Mood swings
•Feeling angry
•Fearing re-injury – for example, concern that it will not be possible to take part in leisure activities or return to work

The Equality Act 2010

This Act classifies a disability as: “A physical or mental impairment which has an effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities” [1]. So this could incorporate hidden disabilities or impairments. Also, the impact must be: “substantial, adverse and long-term” [1].
To that end, if your long-term pain has been prevalent for a year or more; or, if it is likely to continue for at least a year, (or for the remainder of your life), and it significantly impacts your daily activities, potentially, it could be considered a disability.


[1]. Lawson-West Solicitors (2022). “Chronic Pain – What is Chronic Pain?”