Contributor: Rachael Mattice is the Content Manager for Sovereign Health Group, an addiction, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment provider. Rachael received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Purdue University.
Chronic pain is an invisible disability that can strike anyone at any time. For someone who has never experienced lasting, incurable pain, it might be difficult to understand what someone with chronic pain is going through. If you care about someone who is experiencing chronic pain, here are ways you can help.
Support Their Dietary Choices
Some chronic conditions can be mediated by diet. For instance, people with fibromyalgia often develop sensitivities to certain food types. They might find that their symptoms worsen when they eat food that contains dairy, eggs or gluten. If possible, try to fix your loved ones meals that comply with their new dietary restrictions.
Don’t force them to eat at restaurants that won’t accommodate them. If attending a dinner party, make sure there is something they can eat and, if necessary, bring something along for them.
Keep Their Pace
Chronic pain has the ability to slow a person down. People who are experiencing chronic pain might walk slower than they did previously. They might take a longer time to perform fine motor movements (like buttoning a shirt) or struggle with completing basic household tasks.
Do not rush them. If you are walking with someone with chronic pain, do not leave him or her behind. Walking side by side with a person with chronic pain is an excellent way to silently show support.
Help Them Out
If the person with chronic pain used to be in charge of household chores, perform the chores for him or her. If the person used to make dinner, make dinner for him or her. If the person is overwhelmed by his or her children, volunteer to take care of them for the day.
It is important to help the person with chronic pain even when he or she does not explicitly ask for help. People with chronic pain frequently feel like a burden and might be too afraid to ask for help.
Don’t Say “But You Look Fine”
People with chronic pain have good days and bad days. Even on the good days, however, they are still suffering. People with chronic pain also can hide their pain because they don’t want to burden or annoy their loved ones by constantly complaining.
Don’t assume your loved ones are feeling healthy just because they don’t talk about their pain or show it.
Recognize Your Own Emotions
Being responsible for a person with chronic pain can be difficult. The person without chronic pain might feel angry or resentful. “Why do they get to take medication and lie around all day when I can’t?” If the person with chronic pain is unable to work, it might be overwhelming to be the primary, or only, breadwinner of the household.
As a supportive ally, it is important not to take out the negative emotions on your loved one. It’s not your loved one’s fault – if given the choice, the person would gladly get rid of the chronic pain immediately. If these thoughts get in the way of everyday life, it might be worthwhile to pursue therapy.
Learn as Much as You Can About Chronic Pain
When a loved one is suddenly struck by chronic pain, it is important to learn about the condition as much as possible. Look for blogs and websites. Watch documentaries, such as “Pain Matters, ” an excellent Discovery Channel documentary that delves into the lives of people who are dealing with chronic pain.
Excellent resources for pain include the books: “Living with Chronic Pain, ” by Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D., Ph.D., and “The Body Broken: A Memoir, ” by Lynne Greenberg. By following these steps, you can be an excellent ally for your loved one during this difficult time.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Have you supported a person that is struggling with pain, what ways have you found to provide them encouragement and support through their struggle?
About the Author:
Rachael Mattice is the Content Manager for Sovereign Health Group, an addiction, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment provider. Rachael is a creative and versatile journalist and digital marketing specialist with an extensive writing and editing background.
Her portfolio includes numerous quality articles on various topics published in print and digital formats at award-winning publications and websites. To learn more about Sovereign Health Group’s mental health treatment programs and read patient reviews, visit http://www.sovhealth.com/. Follow Sovereign Health Group on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addiction. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 1st, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com