11/15/2012 04:11 pm ET

Living With Chronic Pain: Jenna's Story (VIDEO)

According to the National Institute of Health, chronic pain affects more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. It is also the most common cause of long-term disability.

Jenna Collins, a student at De Anza College, suffers from mixed connective tissue disease, a condition that has given her chronic pain since childhood. On a segment for HuffPost Live, she shared her thoughts on how to manage pain while living a normal life with host Nancy Redd.

“I just decided I still had to do everything that I really wanted to do that would make my life enjoyable. And that would often mean I was in even more pain,” she said. “It could mean that sometimes I was even sicker.”

But for Collins, experiencing even more pain was worth the fight.

“In the long run, I think it improved my health because it improved my spirit and my quality of life. I think that’s a big issue in dealing with it,” Collins said. “You have to have quality of life in order to fight an illness or chronic pain. Otherwise, you just feel like, what’s the point?”

Redd and Collins were joined by Gordon Selley, an author and speaker who struggled with chronic pain for over 18 years, Mallory Smith, a student at Stanford University, Dr. Gregory Smith, President of the Comprehensive Pain Relief Group, and Dr. Isaac Kashani, a cosmetic dentist.

Watch the full segment on HuffPost Live.