When someone you care about are living with chronic pain, they may also experience emotional suffering due to the impact their condition can have on their personal relationships. It’s not that their friends or family don’t care about their pain, merely that others often don’t understand the nature of pain and how to be supportive of the situation. As a result, they may instead keep a distance, in absence of knowing just what to do to help.
For the individual living with chronic pain, this can be hurtful; they may feel abandoned, uncared for, or even angry and depressed that their condition is causing distance from others around them. This can leave them feeling 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 chronic pain conditions. While you may not be able to alleviate the pain itself, you can certainly provide 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.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ways that you can help improve the quality of life for those you care about when they suffer from chronic pain in their everyday lives.
- Believe them 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 discounted by those they depend on for support.
- Ask 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.
- Include them 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 invited can be of great value to helping them feel wanted and included.
- Be patient 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 stressing you out, they’re less likely to accept your assistance. Let them know that whatever they need, it’s “no big deal” to help them.
- Allow them to 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 presumptions 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.
Remember, 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; simply caring, listening and applying some of the above ideas will go a long way to help make their world a better, happier place in spite of the pain.
There is Help for Friends and Family Who Suffer from Chronic Pain Conditions
While you can’t assume you have a ‘magic pill’ to take their pain away, you can still point loved ones in the right direction if they haven’t yet sought treatment for their chronic pain. They may not realize there are many powerful solutions to help reduce or eliminate their suffering, and since pain conditions can be debilitating, many sufferers don’t have the energy to explore the options that are available to them.
This is where you can help. Tell them about Florida Pain Relief Centers, and our expert pain management physicians will take it from there. It’s simple to set up a consultation at one of our many clinic locations so they can learn about the many life-changing treatment options available for a more pain-free quality of life. We want to help make their lives enjoyable, not just bearable.
The best way you can support your loved ones living with chronic pain is to let them know how easy it is to call Florida Pain Relief Centers at (800) 215-0029 or to click the button below to schedule a consultation online for one of our many clinic locations.