Chronic pain can have a ripple effect when it comes to relationships. Not only does the person who has chronic pain suffer, but it trickles over to their connections with friends, family, and loved ones.
There’s an inherent physical and emotional strain that comes from being in pain continually.
And, it’s no wonder that when a chronic pain patient suffers, those nearest and dearest can suffer as well.
Navigating Chronic Pain
So how do you help a loved one who suffers from chronic pain? It starts with these critical guidelines for navigating these tricky waters.
1. Show Compassion
One of the hardest aspects is chronic pain is challenging to see, but easy to notice. You and your loved one may not understand the source of the pain – or how, when, and why it may go from manageable to debilitating, but you both feel the effects.
It’s natural to be frustrated when chronic pain slows your loved one down and prevents you from enjoying activities together daily.
Use compassion whenever necessary. Offer sympathy, support, and encouragement, whenever you can to let your loved one know you are there when they need you.
2. Find Little Ways to Help
Depending on the location and the source of the pain, chronic pain sufferers may have trouble doing everyday tasks – from mowing the lawn to simply putting away the dishes.
So instead of asking open-ended questions like “What can I do to help,” find little ways to pitch in and lend a hand.
Even the little things can do a world of good for someone who is struggling with their pain regularly.
- Walking the dog
- Taking out the trash
- Bringing over a meal
3. Let Go of the Guilt
When it comes to chronic pain – and especially when the patient is a spouse or partner – feelings of guilt can naturally arise.
You may feel angry and aggravated that you can’t do all the things you used to, or you may feel bad that you are unable to “fix” the problem, and that’s OK!
Recognize it’s fine to have negative feelings, and that neither you nor your loved one is to blame for their condition.
4. Be a Barrier
Your loved one may need to explain to many people why they aren’t as productive or functional as they used to be, so lend a hand in letting people know what’s happening!
By informing other friends and loved ones of the patient’s condition, you can ward off excess questions. You can help other people understand the situation and the reasons why your mutual loved one is not as active as usual.
5. Encourage Your Loved One to Seek the Right Help!
Too much advice is never a good thing when it comes to medical conditions, with one big caveat – if your loved one has not seen an experienced pain management specialist, encourage them to make an appointment!
We Can Help
All too often, chronic pain can lead to months of doctors’ visits, tests, specialists’ visits, and even multiple surgeries, when the best course of action is to get to the root of the problem first.
So encourage your loved one to delve deeper into the cause of their pain, and make your appointment today.