Living with Chronic Pain
Talking to Someone Suffering from Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is variable. Sufferers of chronic pain can go from feeling wonderful to feeling like they cannot partake in any physical activities in a matter of minutes. One of the best ways to help your family member or friend to deal with their chronic pain is by simply talking to them.
1. Talk to the individual as a peer
While you may want to give a pep talk to the chronic pain sufferer in your life when you see them down in the dumps, realize that a pep talk can be demoralizing and aggravating for the chronic pain sufferer. Staying somewhat active and engaging in activities like biking, walking, and tai chi may alleviate some joint and muscle pain. Occasionally being sedentary will actually worsen chronic pain. Nonetheless, do not lecture the chronic pain sufferer in your life regarding the importance of exercise and the great outdoors, as these things may exacerbate the pain by causing frustration.
2. Do not play the role of a doctor
Sufferers of chronic pain are continuously collaborating with doctors to take the right steps to improve and treat their illness. Therefore, it is best to make an effort to not suggest medical advice, especially if you are not medically trained – you may not give the correct advice and you aren’t fully aware of the person’s detailed medical history and what they have dealt with over the years.
3. Do not compare health problems
Avoid talking about times when you were in pain and were successfully treated or healed; this shows a lack of empathy and understanding towards the person whom suffers from chronic pain, and makes them feel like a disappointment or like other people can handle pain better than they do.
4. Be positive and genuine
If you have been reading PainScale for any amount of time, you are always aware that living with chronic pain is challenging. However, you may not yet know that positivity goes a long way in supporting your loved ones who suffer from chronic pain. Offering hope, showing your love, and constant support are all critical things to communicate to the people you care about who are dealing with chronic pain.
5. Ask about their treatments
While you do not want to play doctor, it is nice to ask about the sufferer’s treatments and how satisfied they are. It is essential to ask questions such as if the sufferer thinks that their pain is normally bearable, or if they believe their treatment is satisfactory. Since most people rarely engage pain sufferers with such open-ended questions, it might help to start a dialogue and get them to talk comfortably.