The first thing that needs to happen is to let that person suffering know that you hear them, care, and are there for them. Some things to say might be, “I’m so sorry that you’re in pain. I’ll be here for you whatever way I can.” Or “I know this sucks. Let’s talk about it,”.
It is also essential to avoid phrases that may sound dismissive, such as “it’s all in your head” or “you’ll get used to it.” Or my favorite things said to me when I was suffering from chronic shoulder pain were, “When are you going to be better? “This is ridiculous I can’t even hug you.” Those are the phrases I heard regularly from my then-husband, who was supposed to be my main support person. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and we are no longer married as a result of his dismissiveness.
Instead, try to focus on offering empathy and understanding. For example, you could say something like, “I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you,” or “Your pain is valid, and I’m here to listen.” Offer any practical support you can, such as helping with household tasks or running errands. Let the person know that you’re there for them and will do whatever you can (in your power) to help.
If the chronic pain is so intense that it becomes debilitating, you might need to enlist outside help such as a home health care services or in-home physical therapy.
When suffering from chronic pain, some people feel like it is starting to make them feel like they are crazy and the pain is too much to bear. That is a terrifying place to be. Many people who suffer from chronic pain feel like they are losing their minds.
If you are with someone who is in this state, try to remain calm and reassure them that they are not crazy and that the pain is real. Try to talk to them about their feelings and offer any support you can. If the pain is so severe that it is causing them to act out of character or become a danger to themselves or others, then you need to seek professional help immediately. Call a crisis hotline or take them to the emergency room if necessary.
Chronic pain is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. If you know someone who is suffering from chronic pain, be there for them and offer them your support. Listen to them, validate their feelings, and help them in any way you are able and willing to do so.
Caring for someone with chronic pain
If someone you love suffers from chronic pain, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself too. Just like the flight attendant says, “in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before helping those around you.” Here are a few suggestions to go by:
- Learn – what is chronic pain?
- Listen – how is it affecting the sufferer?
- Encourage teamwork – work together when possible
- Continue to treat them as a person.
- Look after yourself!
Chronic pain can be a very isolating and lonely experience. As the caregiver, you must make an effort to not only take care of the sufferer but also take care of yourself. Chronic pain can be very draining, both physically and emotionally. Therefore, setting boundaries and taking time for yourself when needed is essential. If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of the sufferer.
It is also important to remember that the person suffering from chronic pain is still a person. They are not their pain. Try to do things you used to enjoy together before the pain began. This will help them feel more like themselves and less like their pain.
Chronic pain can be a difficult thing to deal with, but you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you and the sufferer. Do not hesitate to reach out for help when needed.
What does chronic pain do to you mentally?
It can affect your ability to function at home and work. You may find participating in social activities and hobbies challenging, which could lead to decreased self-esteem. It is also common for people with chronic pain to have sleep disturbances, fatigue, trouble concentrating, decreased appetite, and mood changes. If you are experiencing any of these mental effects, it is crucial to seek help from a mental health professional.
Chronic pain also causes other physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, digestive problems, and increased pain sensitivity. It can also lead to fatigue, decreased activity level, and weight gain or loss.
What can you do to manage chronic pain?
There are many things that you can do to “manage” chronic pain. Of course, the key word here is “manage.” Although these techniques probably will not make the pain disappear (although they might), they can provide some much-needed relief. Here are a few suggestions:
Exercise – It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise can actually help to reduce pain. When someone suggested this one to me, I thought they were out of their mind! But studies show that regular exercise releases endorphins, which are those good natural painkillers.
Relaxation techniques – Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help to reduce pain and muscle tension.
Acupuncture – This traditional Chinese medicine technique involves placing thin needles into the skin at specific points. It is thought to help relieve pain by releasing endorphins and stimulating the nervous system. Although I have tried everything from chiropractors to physical therapy, acupuncture seemed to be the most effective, especially with my back pain.
Chiropractors – Chiropractors use manual manipulation to adjust the spine and other joints. These techniques can help relieve pain by taking pressure off nerves and improving blood flow.
Massage – Massage therapy can help to relax muscles, improve circulation, and reduce pain.
Heat and cold therapy – Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help to reduce pain.
OTC medications – Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to reduce pain. They can sometimes, at least, take the edge off.
Prescription medications – If over-the-counter medications are ineffective, your doctor may prescribe more potent painkillers or other medicines to help manage your pain. Be very careful when using opiates as they are highly addictive and will need to detox to get off them if abused.
Chronic pain is a complex issue that requires an individualized approach. What works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, working with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you is crucial. In addition, if you are experiencing any of these physical effects, you must see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
What do you say to someone who is suffering from chronic pain?
To summarize, if you or someone you are close to is suffering from chronic pain, remember to take care of yourself; make sure to get rest, eat well, gently exercise, and be willing to try different things to see what works best in managing the pain. And remember to always reach out for help when needed from a mental health professional or a doctor.