Offering Support to Someone with Chronic Pain

Offering support to friends and family living with pain is important.

Is one of your friends or family living with chronic back pain? And people don’t always know what they can do when their friends or family share that they developed a chronic pain condition.

How Can You Offer Support?

While it’s unsettling to see and know that a loved one is in pain, there are ways you can offer your support, encouragement, and understanding.

Chronic back pain can disrupt your daily life

You offering your support will help hopefully help them gain control of their pain. Here are some helpful tips and advice on how you can help your loved ones with chronic back pain

Avoid Giving Unsolicited Health Advice

Unless you have a professional medical background, avoid giving unsolicited advice to loved ones with chronic pain. We understand that you want to help someone in need. Perhaps you came across an online article talking about a medical procedure, or you read about some pain-relief medication, and you can’t wait to share these with your friend and loved one with pain.

Frequently, we turn to the internet to find solutions to our problems. However, that’s not the case with medical conditions. You can’t just search for certain symptoms on the internet and find a cure. Chances are your loved one has already discussed what their options are with their doctor. Even if you have a genuine concern, refrain from suggesting second-hand solutions.

Ask How They’re Feeling

Chronic back pain is a physical type of pain. However, those suffering from it also experience a great deal of loneliness and discouragement. As simple as asking them how they’re feeling will immensely help. It lets them know that you’re concerned with them.

There are different levels of chronic pain. And the progression or regression of it differs as time goes by. We suggest you ask them how they’re feeling on a few occasions. Just because you asked them a week or a month ago doesn’t mean they are feeling the same way. Give them space to talk about their health. Don’t ask them once then avoid bringing it up again.

We understand that our instinct is to avoid overly sensitive topics; we’re worried that we may come across as nosy or intrusive and the overall conversation to be awkward. However, your silence may also be interpreted as indifference – adding to their stress and loneliness.

It’s always better to show your concern in their health rather than sweeping it under the rug and acting like it’s not there at all. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t steer the discussion towards your personal experience with any chronic pain. Remember that they are currently the one in pain. Listen first. Share your story if they ask for it.

Be Understanding

Chronic back pain is not always consistent – depending on the day. The pain could be intense in the morning, then mellows down at nighttime. It’s unavoidable for the person in distress to change or cancel plans because of their condition.

When situations like this happen, try to be understanding. Others may express frustration or annoyance; however, keep in mind that it’s not like the person in pain is doing it intentionally. Avoid saying remarks like “But the other day you said you were feeling okay, why can’t you meet up today?” With chronic pain, there are good, bad, and worse days.

Friends who experience chronic back pain may need to cancel or change plans. Be understanding.

You can be further accommodating by offering several suggestions of when you can meet up or places closer to them. Your sensitivity and understanding of their situation will go a long way.

Ask What You Can Do to Help

Many of us are not comfortable asking for help. If the person in pain may need it, but you feel their apprehension in asking you, reach out and ask them what you can do for them. Whether it’s any tangible help around the house, providing childcare while they get to rest, picking up their medication, or offering to bring over a meal.

In some cases, the person suffering from pain may not even accept your offer. However, merely showing your willingness to help can provide them assurance and comfort. Asking what you can do to help shows that you understand that their condition affects their daily life.

Key Takeaways

Most people living with severe pain need assistance. This fact is especially true for those suffering from chronic back pain, as they tend to experience both physical and emotional pain. Whatever you can do to help, big or small, will let them know they are not alone in their journey.