Living with Chronic Pain
How to Become Involved in the Community
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When experiencing chronic pain, isolation from the community may arise due to the inability to participate in activities or high pain levels. However, there are many ways that individuals with chronic pain can become involved or re-engaged with their community.
- Find upcoming local events. Many communities offer events, such as concerts, art festivals, and outdoor movie viewings. Dates for these events are often found in local newspapers, on community websites, or on bulletin boards at city office buildings. These events are frequently free and may not require the purchase of tickets in advance. This makes local events a flexible option for individuals with chronic pain.
- Volunteer in the community. There are many ways to volunteer in a local community, including reading to the elderly, tutoring school children, or completing office-based work for local charities. Individuals should identify a cause they care about, find a local organization that supports that cause, and research volunteer opportunities that match their abilities and skills.
- Locate a local chronic pain program or support group. A local hospital or physician’s office may offer a chronic pain self-management program. This allows individuals to learn more about pain management, nutrition, and physical activity. A community may also have a support group for those with chronic pain conditions. If this is nonexistent in the community, consider starting one.
- Visit the local library. In addition to offering books and other resources, libraries often offer ways to become engaged with others. Examples include book clubs, classes, workshops, etc. The library is also a great place to find local events.
- Consider a parks and recreation department. Many communities have a parks and recreation department that not only creates and maintains parks, trails, and other areas in the community, but may also offer classes and activities. They are frequently free or low-cost, and could include yoga, cooking classes, crafting sessions, or events at local parks.
- Shop local. Another way to engage with the community is by shopping at local small businesses instead of big box stores when possible. Supporting local business owners can make a big difference in the community. Local businesses are often smaller and easier to navigate than large chain stores, making them a great option for individuals with chronic pain.
Additional sources: PsychCentral, U.S. News & World Report, and National Council on Aging