Living with Chronic Pain
Supporting the Interests of Others
Chronic pain causes difficulty participating in certain activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable. Exploring an interest may not worsen the pain; however, the fatigue or depression that occur due to chronic pain can make participation difficult or impossible.
Having interests is significant for a person’s well-being. Participating in hobbies can reduce stress and improve mood. When doing this with another person, it can also strengthen the relationship.
How to support the interest of someone with chronic pain
Though it is important for individuals with chronic pain to explore old interests or find new ones, they may need encouragement and help. Here are four ways to support the interests of a loved one with chronic pain.
- Be open. Not everyone enjoys the same interests. If an individual with chronic pain expresses interest in a sports team or planting a garden, watch the game together or help each other pick out a new plant. Be open to participate in interests or hobbies that they enjoy.
- Find ways to make hobbies more comfortable. For example, an individual who knitted before developing chronic pain may appreciate having their materials within easy reach of the couch, bed, or other comfortable area. Raised garden beds may be easier for them to maintain than planting in the ground. There are many hobbies that can be modified for those dealing with chronic pain.
- Find something new. If an interest can no longer be pursued due to chronic pain, encourage them to find something new. Finding a new hobby or interest that does not increase pain may take some trial and error, but it is possible and beneficial.
- Don’t be too pushy. Interests and hobbies should be enjoyable. If an individual is in too much pain or too tired to participate in an activity, it is not pleasurable. When dealing with chronic pain, a balance of activity and rest is needed. Be respectful of their limits, instead of pushing them.
Additional source: The Mighty, Head to Health, and The Mighty