worst part of chronic pain isn’t the pain itself or the medications and
treatments, but talking to friends and family about how much it hurts. This can
be especially true for patients who have an “invisible” condition, like
fibromyalgia. Not getting support can be extremely damaging, so let’s take a
look at some of the ways to talk to family and friends about chronic pain.
Nothing can be more humiliating or hurtful than someone dismissing your pain or
treating you with skepticism and resentment if you are unable to do tasks were
able to do previously, such as clean the kitchen or run certain errands.
explaining all the details of the disease can be difficult, if this person is
willing, bring them along to your doctor’s visits. Talk beforehand about the
questions you both might want to ask and the issues you’d like to discuss, and
be sure to write them down before you go.
support system. Even supportive friends can tune you out if you talk about the
same pain every day, so it’s a good idea to share with others. Support groups
are great for patients who need to vent or talk to someone who knows exactly
what they are going through.
Be choosy. Support
groups, both online or in real life, tend to fall into two categories: those
where people go to vent, get emotional support and talk about the difficulties
in their lives, or those where people focus on new research and getting well.
your needs at any given time, both approaches may work for you. But don’t be
afraid to leave or switch if a group just isn’t a good fit.
Find a new doctor,
if necessary. Supporting chronically ill patients is one of the most important
functions of a primary care doctor, and while the understanding of chronic pain
is growing, sometimes specialists are the way to go. Here at The Pain Center of
Arizona, all our doctors are trained to help patients deal with chronic pain.
Let people say
“no”. If you have a chronic illness, you need to be able to ask for
help when you need it, but you also need to be OK with family and friends
saying “no” sometimes. When people feel they cannot say no, it can
lead to an unhealthy, codependent relationship, which may ultimately trigger
burnout in even your strongest supporters.
therapy. If you have a chronic illness and your relationship is suffering (for
example a spouse or partner who’s openly hostile or doesn’t believe you are
truly sick), seek counseling. Family therapy or couples counseling can help you
and your loved ones adjust to the demands of a debilitating, life-changing
people around you. Helping people understand what’s going on in your body and
why it’s making you miserable can be frustrating, especially if—as with
fibromyalgia—you look perfectly fine. Most people need to understand and learn,
because without that education, they can’t see it—and when they can’t see it,
they often don’t believe it. Luckily, there’s a wealth of information to help
people understand chronic illnesses, especially on the web.
Sharpen your own
coping skills. People with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses need
support, but they also need to develop their own tools for managing the disease
and coping with pain. Support groups can be helpful in this respect as you can
talk with other people about what works for them and what doesn’t. One strategy
that might help is distracting yourself, either by reading, watching a movie or
engaging in a favorite hobby; studies suggest distraction is an effective
coping mechanism when it comes to pain.
Join in when you
can. Make time for fun with family and friends when you feel like you can, but
don’t overexert yourself. Just let others know that they don’t have to hold
back their activities and that you’ll join them for what you feel you can
handle. If you like to travel, you should; again, just don’t push yourself too
hard and make sure your companions understand your limitations.
If you suffer from chronic pain due to any condition or
injury, find hope at The Pain Center of Arizona! Our dedicated team of board
certified pain management physicians will work with you to treat your pain,
increase your functionality and quality of life, and get you back into life! We
have locations across Arizona, including Phoenix, Anthem, Surprise, Mesa,
Gilbert, Deer Valley, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and now Prescott and Tucson!
We take multiple insurance plans; click here
to see if we take yours! To make an appointment and take the first step toward
getting back into life, call us today at 1-888-PAINCENTER. We hope to see you
advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or
judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned
here or in any other educational medical material.
Center of Arizona, 2013