Living with Chronic Pain
Family Life: Tips for Individuals Living With Chronic Pain
Source: Practical Pain Management, National Center for Biotechnology Information: U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health, Practical Pain Management, WebMD, Healthline
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Individuals with chronic pain not only deal with the physical and emotional effects of their condition, but they also often face challenges within their family dynamic. It can be difficult or even impossible to contribute to relationships and maintain responsibilities in the same way as before the chronic pain started. This can be frustrating for both the individual and their family members. However, there are steps individuals can take to minimize negative effects on the family unit.
Tips for individuals with chronic pain
- Participate in open and honest communication with family members. Be honest about pain levels and emotions.
- Ask for and accept assistance when needed. When pain levels are heightened, it is important to rest. Ask family members to help with tasks around the home. Be willing to accept help when offered.
- Be honest with children. Reassure them that although pain is present, it will be okay, and it is not their fault. Explain why it may not be possible to participate in certain activities, such as playing in the park or participating in backyard sports. Find alternative activities, such as watching a movie or reading a book on the couch.
- When pain levels are low, contribute to family roles and responsibilities. For example, when pain is lessened, cook a few extra meals and freeze them for when pain is heightened. This will not only help with family chores but will also reduce feelings of helplessness or guilt.
- If physical intimacy with a partner or spouse is not possible, focus on other ways to support a healthy relationship. Performing kind gestures, sharing emotions, and gentle cuddling are all part of an intimate relationship.
Adopting these tips not only benefits the individual with chronic pain but also benefits their family members and the family dynamic as a whole.