Living with Chronic Pain
Family Life and Chronic Pain: Tips for Family Members
Family members of individuals with chronic pain often face various challenges, including strained relationships, increased stress and negative emotions. However, there are steps family members can take to improve relationships and emotional well-being.
Tips for family members
- Participate in open and honest communication. Ask the family member in pain what they need. Listen to what they say and be aware of nonverbal communication. Be honest about emotions as they arise without placing blame.
- Offer help that is genuinely needed while still allowing the individual to be as active as possible. Avoid being overly sympathetic and removing all challenges.
- If necessary, seek individual or family counseling to help deal with negative emotions, such as hostility, depression or anxiety. Attend or start a support group for loved ones of individuals with chronic pain conditions.
- Learn as much as possible about the chronic pain condition and the available treatments. Attend medical appointments and ask questions. Educating oneself about the condition eases the fear of the unknown and may provide additional ways to support the family member in pain.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and participating in social or religious activities or events. Taking care of oneself is necessary in order to be able to take care of someone else.
- Ask for help when needed. A friend or another family member may be able to help with tasks around the home, run errands or cook meals, providing a welcome break for the caretaker of an individual with a chronic pain condition.
Implementing these tips will not only benefit family members but will also help the individual dealing with chronic pain.