Living with Chronic Pain
Tips on How to Support Someone who has Chronic Pain
Friends, family, work colleagues, online support groups, and condition-specific health communities can help individuals cope with pain. Empathy, positive mental support, physical support, validation, and education are helpful for building the right pain management support.
Active listening can help friends, family, or work colleagues listen to, be come aware of, and compassionate towards the feelings of individuals with chronic pain. Strengthening relationships with your most trusted network, rather than removing yourself to isolation, are critical to effectively managing chronic pain.
A support network can help individuals feeling isolated, misunderstood or depressed. By empathizing, sharing a positive outlook, and engaging in social activities, individuals with chronic pain may benefit from a reduction in their perception of pain.
Helping with physical activities like laundry, vacuuming, or grocery shopping can provide pain relief, and give an individual time for physical and mental rehabilitation.
Chronic pain is a condition where many symptoms are invisible to others. Validation communicates an understanding and acceptance of other's experiences – both are critical to building a trusting and supportive relationship for individuals experiencing chronic pain.
Patient education and self-management are critical to helping clinical decision-making that results in the best pain management outcomes. Because clinic decision-making is the result of interactions between patients and physicians – the more information that you can share with your physician (e.g. pain journal, symptom awareness), the sooner you are likely to find the right diagnosis and treatment plan.