Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about chronic pain. If I come off as insensitive, I'm sorry. I just want to know more about it so I can portray it accurately. OK, so long story short, I'm writing a story with a main character who has cervical dystonia, an involuntary and painful muscle spasm in the neck. It's part of her character, shapes her psychology; it's one of the many things she has to deal with in her life. Problem is, I'm not sure how to do it respectfully, or realistically. Here are some questions I had during the course of my preliminary research: (1) The main character is fourteen and had this chronic pain/spasm since she was ten. She would have gone through physical therapy to deal with the pain, so is it realistic that she'd still have it? That she'd still go through the exercises to keep the pain/spasms in check? Is it realistic that a child might develop chronic pain? How would this have an impact on a child her age to have this? (2) Are there things that someone with neck/shoulder pain have to avoid doing so as to not aggravate the symptoms? Would it all depend on how bad her disorder is? The reason I ask is because there are several instances of her pushing/lifting/throwing something with great vigor. (3) This may fit more in another section, but how do I show a fair balance between showing that she's got this disorder and how she deals with it and just showing her in all the other aspects of her character? The reason I ask is because it might be kind of stupid for me to say, 'Oh she's got this thing...' in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book hoping they'll remember it. I also don't want to spend ever third paragraph reminding them of this because then the chronic pain will be all they know of this character. I guess I'm just asking: how do I portray chronic pain/a neck disorder in a respectful, realistic way? Thoughts? I might be missing some other things, so feel free to jump in and educate me.