May 11, 2021
When someone you love is living with chronic pain, you may feel helpless to bring them relief. And aside from helping them with tasks to lighten the load, there may not be a lot you can do about the physical aspects of their condition.
But many people who suffer from chronic pain may also experience emotional suffering due to the impact that their condition can have on their daily life and relationships, and this is something you may be able to help them with.
Letting them know that you care about their pain, even when you aren’t experiencing their specific symptoms yourself, will make them feel supported and valued. Keeping your distance from them just because you’re not sure how to help, is no help at all; it can make them feel even worse than they already do.
A situation like this may make them feel abandoned, uncared for, or even angry and depressed that their condition is causing distance from others around them. The pain sufferer may feel more isolated than ever, and it does nothing to help improve their physical condition.
The good news is, there are many ways you can help those you care about when they’re suffering from a chronic pain condition. While you may not be able to alleviate the pain itself, you can still offer encouragement and help them find purpose in their lives. By supporting them and being present in their environment, you will boost their morale and energy, and in turn, help to lessen the intensity of the pain they feel.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are some ways you can help improve the quality of life for those you care about when they suffer from chronic pain in their daily lives.
- Take them seriously
Just because someone ‘looks’ healthy or has good days where they have more energy or less pain, this doesn’t mean they’re not suffering. Chronic pain can take many forms, both internally and outwardly. It is important that your loved ones know they’re being taken seriously, and that their pain isn’t disregarded by those they depend on for support.
- Invite detailed conversations with them
Many pain sufferers don’t want to sound ‘whiny’ or share unsolicited information about what they’re going through. Yet, they may feel the need to express what they’re experiencing with those they feel closest to. By asking them open-ended questions about their pain, you’re giving them permission to let it out without feeling like an imposition to others.
- Don’t leave them out
When you know someone is having a hard time performing everyday activities, it’s easy to assume they don’t want to take part in certain events. But isolation can make pain sufferers feel very alone and unwanted, so invite them anyway; even if they don’t accept the invite, or they accept your invitation but can’t actively participate, the simple gesture of being asked can have great value in helping them feel wanted and included.
- Have patience
Chronic pain is difficult for the sufferer, and often as hard for those around them. While being exposed to the ups and downs associated with pain conditions may sometimes be challenging, try to be patient and remember that they’re going through a tough process. Making them feel guilty for feeling bad will only make them feel worse.
- Make it easy for them to accept your offers of help
Despite the obstacles presented by chronic pain, many sufferers don’t want to be a burden to those around them. Yet, they may genuinely need help. The best way to offer assistance without causing them guilt is to make the help you offer sound easy; if they hear in your tone that supporting them is a burden for you, they’re less likely to accept your assistance. Let them know that whatever they need, it’s “no big deal” to help them.
- Let them feel ‘normal’
Don’t treat chronic pain sufferers as overly fragile or incapable. They may have some diminished capabilities, but walking on eggshells around them and treating them differently than usual detracts from their overall living experience. Enabling them to enjoy as normal a lifestyle as possible can help them move forward with a greater sense of purpose and self-worth.
- Avoid assumptions
When you truly care about someone, you may be compelled to ask questions or take actions that you think they want or need. But not all pain sufferers appreciate deeply personal questions, such as inquiries about medications or details about medical procedures.
Others may take offense to being touched without invitation or enduring repeated offers of physical assistance. Those desiring ‘personal space’ may view such things as invasive or meddlesome. The best approach is to ask how you can be of help in a non-invasive manner, then let them tell you what they need.
All in all, the best way you can be there for your loved ones is to be there. Follow their cues and don’t try to dictate how they should feel, or what is best for them. Everyone experiences chronic pain in different ways, but by simply showing you care, listening and applying some of the above ideas, you can go a long way in helping to make their life happier, despite their physical pain.
How to Find Help for Friends and Family Who Suffer from Chronic Pain Conditions
While there are things you can do to help with your loved ones’ emotional state, we can help with the physical aspects of their pain.
At Riverside Pain Physicians, our board-certified pain physicians are dedicated to treating every patient as a unique individual with an exclusive pain condition, and to find the best solution for reducing or eliminating their specific type of suffering.
If you want more information about how we can help diminish or eliminate the pain for those you care about, call Riverside Pain Physicians today at 904.389.1010 or click here to set up an appointment online at one of our clinics.
Tags: Chronic Pain, Chronic Pain Management, Chronic Pain Physician Jacksonville, Chronic Pain Treatment