Living with Chronic Pain
Being a Good Friend to Someone with Chronic Pain
Living with chronic pain often comes with lifestyle changes that can alter relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Chronic pain is unpredictable and can lead to isolation. Individuals with chronic pain need a trusted support team to live their best life possible.
Some tips to be a good friend to someone with chronic pain include the following:
- Lend a helping hand. It is often difficult for individuals with chronic pain to ask for help, even from a friend. Offering to help with chores, such as cleaning their house, driving them to the grocery store, or cooking them a meal, often means a great deal to someone living with chronic pain.
- Listen. Oftentimes, people with chronic pain just want to be acknowledged and heard. Active listening provides validation of their experience and demonstrates unwavering support.
- Accept cancellations. Most individuals with chronic pain like to be invited to participate in social activities even if they may need to cancel at the last minute. Don’t take it personally. Chronic pain is unpredictable, and they simply don’t know how they will feel from one day to the next.
- Utilize distractions. Using distractions, such as engaging in hobbies, talking about current events, or simply watching television together, can help reduce a friend’s chronic pain levels.
- Be sensitive and positive. Criticism, stress, and conflict can increase pain levels. Providing hope and positivity plays an important role in helping an individual cope with chronic pain.