Tips for Helping a Friend or Loved One Who Suffers from Chronic Pain

Tips for Helping a Friend or Loved One Who Suffers from Chronic Pain

Sam Ojong

Tips for Helping a Friend or Loved One Who Suffers from Chronic Pain

Understanding Someone With Chronic Pain

caring for someone with chronic pain

If you have a friend or loved one who suffers from high impact chronic pain, you may feel helpless at times. Pain can be debilitating and severely impact a person's quality of life as there will be a noticeable change in roles. However, there are things you can do to help your friend or loved one manage their pain and emotions and improve their overall well-being. Here are some tips.

 Help Them Be Active;

Many people struggling with chronic pain feel like their only option is to lie on a couch, bed, or in an easy chair all day. However, this does more damage to their body than doing some gentle exercise. Especially if your loved one has fibromyalgia, overexerting themselves can intensify their pain symptoms and make life even more difficult for them.

 Listen:

Your friend or loved one can talk to others about their pain, but they can’t talk through it. When they want to express their pain, make sure you’re there as a willing listener. It will also help your loved one if you believe them about the pain. Keep an open mind and be observant of their pain behaviors. It can be difficult to know what to say. However, it's important to remember that you don't need to know what it's like to live with chronic pain – anyone can learn how to help a friend with chronic pain. The first thing you can do is simply listen.

 Acknowledge the Pain Exists:

The first thing you should do is educate yourself on pain management. In order to help your loved one, you need to understand what they are going through. Read books, ask questions and seek advice. The more you know, the better you'll be able to help.

 Learn Gratitude in the Attitude:

this may sound a little out there, being very esoteric but if you peel away a few layers and see the situation between you and your love one. They teach you how to help.

When you see someone you care about in pain, the first impulse is to fix it. If you can’t fix it, you feel inadequate. If you can’t help, then you feel like a failure. what if i told you that when chronic pain becomes their new best friend, it does not make you as a best friend invalid. You simply need to adapt a little to this new dynamic.

how to comfort someone with chronic pain

 

Offer Emotional Support

If you know someone dear to you who is a chronic pain patient  living with chronic pain, it can be tough to see them suffer day in and day out. You may feel helpless, not knowing how to make the pain go away. The good news is that there are ways you can help! Just by offering your emotional support, you can make a big difference in your friend or loved one’s life. Your emotional support can take many forms. You could simply be a sounding board for venting about the pain and frustration Chronic Pain brings.

 More times than not you initially you may feel frustrated or angry at the person in pain. You may ask yourself, “How long do you need to be in pain before you just get over it?” “What did you do to deserve this?” “Why are you complaining all the time? (after all, I don’t know what it feels like!)” “Aren’t you feeling sorry for yourself?

 Start with learning about the condition. You don’t have to be an expert in acute pain, but you can be supportive. A high chronic pain level is not something you can take away from them, but it may be able to help you offer some pain relief by understanding what they go through in their daily life. They will most likely be using pain medications every day. Be sure to check the side effects of these meds, as some can cause fatigue, constipation and nausea. These side effects can make it difficult for your loved one to go about their daily routine.

 

 Help With Practical Tasks:

If you have a friend or family member who suffers from chronic pain, there are plenty of ways you can help them out to better manage their experience of pain on a day-to-day basis. Something as simple as taking care of some of their practical tasks can make a big difference in their quality of life. Here are some ideas for how you can help:

 Help With Cooking:

If your loved one is not well enough for the kitchen, you can play the role of personal chef. Cooking easy recipes for them and helping them eat is a great way to help. You may also be able to help them with meal making and grocery shopping. Instead of going out to eat or having a takeout every night, help your loved one figure out a new meal plan that they can feasibly stick to and help prepare some of the food for them.

how to help someone with chronic pain and depression

 

Meal Deliveries:

For those who live alone and can’t easily get out of the house, help them connect with a meal delivery service online or in their area.

 

Help With Laundry and Ironing:

With a little help, your loved one could be able to take better care of their laundry.

 Be An Advocate:

you have observed their behaviour and maybe even familiar with when they are going to have flare up. You can tell the pain specialist or any other professionals involved what you have noticed, seen and heard to help build a complete and better pain score and maybe plan better towards any future pain management plan.

 Be A Reminder:

Make sure they are taking medicines and keep a list of medications on hand. Sometimes, intense and constant pain can cause what is known as "brain fog" when the simplest and most mundane tasks are forgotten. Just by reminding them to take their medicines, you are helping them either to not take more than prescribed or prevent them from forgetting to take the tablets completely.

 Be A Volunteer:

Volunteer to help them with their yard work or home repairs. Ask some friends to join you too! Offer to help them out at home by taking care of their children on certain days of the week.

Provide information and resources

Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide. Each day will come with different levels of pain, making it either a bad day or a manageable day. It can be extremely debilitating, making it difficult to work, socialize, and even take care of everyday tasks. If you know someone who lives with horrible chronic pain, there are ways you can help them manage their condition and improve their quality of life. One way to help is by providing information and resources about chronic pain. There are many excellent books, articles, and websites about chronic pain that can provide valuable information and support.

 Some books and resources that may be helpful include: The Truth About Chronic Pain: What You Need to Know by John E. Sarno, MD and Claire P. Sarno (Broward: Health Professions Press, second edition, 2012). This book describes how people get chronic pain and how they can heal it. It provides information about the mind-body connection, how the past affects the present, and how people can learn to control and manage their pain.

 Search the Internet for "chronic pain resources" to find many more

How long does chronic pain last?

The length of time that chronic pain lasts is different for every person. A few people with chronic pain have mild pain that lasts a few days or weeks. More often, chronic pain can be constant, but it may vary in intensity.

what not to say to someone with chronic pain

 

How To Support A Partner With Chronic Pain

  

Be understanding and patient

Chronic pain syndrome is a difficult thing to live with. It can be constant, or it can come and go. The pain intensity can vary - it can be mild, or it can be severe. And it can have a big impact on your life. If you know someone who lives with persistent pain, here are some things you can do to help them: First of all, try to be understanding and patient. Chronic pain can make even the simplest tasks feel impossible, so cut your loved one some slack if they're not up for doing things like they used to.

caring for someone with chronic pain

What Not To Say To Someone With Chronic Pain

 Avoid trying to just "snap your loved one out of it." The reality is that chronic pain is often a life-long issue, and it can't be cured or fixed with a quick pep talk.

 This has been mentioned a few times already because it is really that important. Listen to your loved one. They will probably want to talk about their pain, so let them. And if they want to just sit and do nothing, let them do that too.

 Try to be honest or learn to be honest with yourself and your loved one. If you're frustrated, try to be empathetic and consider what you would want if you were in pain. If you feel like you're treading on eggshells, try saying something like, "I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around you sometimes. Can we talk about how to manage our stress so we can be around each other more?"

understanding someone with chronic pain

 And if you feel like they're struggling with depression, be aware of the warning signs — like giving up on activities they once loved — and make sure they get help. If you can, offer to help them accomplish tasks, especially things they find challenging or tiring.

 Remember, its okay to ask how they are feeling but this time with a twist. It's tempting to say, "Are you OK?" when you see them in pain, but your friend or loved one likely hears that question all day long, and they might not want to talk about it all the time. Instead, ask how they're doing in general, or how their pain is doing.

 If they're able, encourage them to exercise. It doesn't have to be anything too strenuous—maybe just a short walk together in a place that's easy for them to get around. Exercise helps relieve stress and depression, and it can also help improve sleep quality.

 This one goes without saying, no matter how optimistic you may feel. If there are certain things that trigger your loved one's pain, try to avoid them. It cannot be a pleasant experience trying to do any sort of activity with pain present.

how to support a partner with chronic pain

 

Did you find this article helpful? We would love to know what your thoughts are on this.

Have you been in a similar situation with a loved one  and you found yourself at odds and you did not know what to say or do. We can help with that, hopefully our collection will offer you the right gift and sentiment to be the ice breaker for starters.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.