Caring for someone living with chronic pain.
When someone is experiencing pain, it can impact every area of their lives, including relationships. If you know someone experiencing chronic pain, you may be wondering: how can I help? Often the first step is to understand what chronic pain is and how it’s different than other pain.
So, what is chronic pain?
Sometimes chronic pain occurs after an injury or accident. Chronic pain can also be caused by damaged nerves that overproduce pain signals.
Typically, people know what is causing their pain. But sometimes, people start experiencing pain out of the blue, with no apparent cause. When there is no obvious source of pain, finding the right treatment can be incredibly difficult.
Often, people with chronic pain cannot do many of the day-to-day things they used to do. They experience a loss of independence and aren’t able to participate in activities they love. But you can help, supporting your friend or family member through their journey with meaningful support.
How to support someone with chronic pain
If you have someone in your life who is experiencing chronic pain, you know it’s not always easy. It can be hard to watch someone you care about not be able to enjoy their life the way they once did. You may be feeling helpless or wondering what you can do.
Just knowing that they have your support can make a huge difference. And there are tangible things you can do to help. Here are a few ideas:
● Be understanding: When someone is living with chronic pain, they often feel left out. They may end up missing out on family activities, like playing with their children or grandchildren. If they loved golf or gardening, they might not be able to do those things anymore. Even though you can’t take their pain away, you can make a big difference by showing you are understanding and supportive.
● Provide emotional support: When someone is experiencing chronic pain, many aspects of their lives change. Something as simple as listening with compassion can make a big difference for someone adjusting to life with chronic pain.
● Offer physical support: When someone loses some of their independence because of chronic pain, they may struggle to ask others to help. Be proactive. Ask what they need and jump when you can. If your mother loves to cook and can’t anymore, offer to help prep dinner and let her add the finishing touches. If your husband usually takes care of the yardwork, hire neighborhood teens to lend a hand.
Help explore treatment options
Treating chronic pain is a difficult journey. Often people try many treatment options before finding something that helps. It can be overwhelming. But the goal is to help them regain their independence and get back to the things they love.
While your loved one must decide with their doctor about which treatment is right for them, your support with research and education can help them explore options. With your help, they can think through each available option and find something that works for them.
In this video, Steve shares his story and how chronic pain impacted every aspect of his life, including the time he was spending with his family until he found the right treatment for him – an HF10 spinal cord stimulator.
If you’re helping someone you love explore their treatment options, you may want to take this short assessment to see if HF10 might be right for them
● Living with chronic pain is incredibly challenging and frustrating.
● Support from family, friends and other caregivers can make a huge difference to those navigating their chronic pain journey.
● Caregivers can best help their friends and family with chronic pain by being understanding, offering emotional support, offering physical support, and exploring treatment options.
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