If you have a loved one who suffers from a chronic pain condition, then you can see that practically every day they are having to deal with not only their physical pain but the effect it has on their mental health.
Chronic pain sufferers will go through a lot in their life, and going up against people who don’t believe them or who say that it “can’t be that bad”, can frustrate and upset them no end.
Living with chronic pain is a hard road to walk down as pain affects mostly all of their life, so if you can be a person that can support them when they need it most, you will see how important you are to them.
Today’s article is about how you can help someone with chronic pain and why it is essential that you throw your support behind them and assist them in managing it.
Why is Support so Vital For Chronic Pain Patients?
Chronic pain and chronic illness can be incredibly isolating for sufferers.
They will feel helpless and upset because they are not able to do what they use to do, as well as go out and see friends, or take part in events and activities as they are constantly plagued by their pain and negative feelings towards it.
Chronic pain can make people develop mental health issues and feel guilty.
This follows them around which can cause them to push people away and actively isolate themselves as they see who they are as a burden who doesn’t deserve fun or support.
Stress Can Cause Their Pain Level to Rise
It has been said that higher levels of stress can cause pain to intensify, making it harder for the individual to live their life.
The stress they feel can be them trying to deal with these chronic pain conditions and the pain intensity, or it can be from their relationships such as family, friends, work colleagues, etc.
If a lot of their stress is coming from dealing with others as they are focusing on managing pain, then you need to be one of the ones that can help reduce this worry and upset by being their support and helping them get the aid they need so they can feel better about who they are and what they have to deal with.
You Can’t Fix Their Physical Disability or Chronic Pain
If you believe that supporting them all the time is going to lighten the stress completely and make them feel better, then you need a wake-up call as they have chronic pain, this means that they will probably have it for life.
You are there to be understanding and help them in the capacity they require.
Chronic illnesses and physical pain will not go away with a happy smile and talking through their issues, there are many layers to it.
How to Help Someone With Chronic Pain
It takes a lot of physical and emotional energy to go through the day as a chronic pain sufferer, and if you care about your loved one’s life and you want to do what you can to either help them get less pain or have them open up to you more, then now is the time to do so.
Research Their Condition and Make Notes
Doing your research on their condition and finding out how it can impact them will help you gain a deeper understanding of what they go through and how they are coping with it.
Chronic pain can make someone’s mental and physical health suffer a great deal, and with your research, you will be able to see just exactly what the outcome is and how that will progress over time.
A lot of the time, especially in the early stages, family members can become frustrated with the person who is experiencing chronic pain as they do not understand much about their condition, leading them into that frustration as they were so used to how they were before.
It can be a shock to see, but imagine how shocked they are, and what they have had to give up to deal with their condition.
Symptoms are not always visible for people who have chronic pain, they feel it inside themselves, and just because you can’t see it with your own eyes doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
It can make the situation worse as at least with a broken leg or arm people have sympathy and can see them as they are, chronic pain sufferers don’t have a physical injury, so explaining and asking people to understand makes it worse for them.
You need to believe them and let them know that you know it is there and you want to support them in any way you can.
Get Them to See a Mental Health Professional
People with chronic pain may not turn to professionals such as a therapist as they feel like they can deal with their issues on their own.
You may have even heard them say how their pain is physical not mental so why should they see a therapist.
It is true that mental and physical health go hand in hand, and if you can get them to see someone who specializes in helping chronic pain sufferers deal with their condition mentally, then you might be able to see some progress.
Don’t Push Them
It can be very hard to open up about what you are going through, and for people who are dealing with persistent pain, they might not be able to say everything out loud, this is why you should not push them to talk to someone if they are not ready.
They may be ready in a few months or a year, but all you need to do is let them know that you will help them when the time comes and you will even be in the room if they want you to be.
Ask Them What They Need Help With
Don’t just assume you know what they will require help for and go and do it, this may throw them off and cause them to feel stress.
Talk to them about the areas of their life they need assistance with and how you can help them with that.
Maybe they find it difficult to prepare food on their own, so spend time doing food prep with them and take over if you see them starting to flag.
If they find it difficult to do their shopping, either go with them or do it for them, just ask for a list and go to stores that you know they like to shop in so they can have what they asked for exactly.
Write a Schedule
As a family, sometimes you all need to chip in, so creating a schedule that goes over what they may need help with and when can get everyone involved as well as help the rest of the family gain more of an understanding about what is going on.
Encourage Them to Have a Healthy Diet
Eating healthily can be very beneficial for everyone, and chronic pain sufferers need nutritious meals to support their bodies and keep them healthy.
Highly processed foods and sugars can cause inflammation in the body which can make pain a lot worse to deal with.
Their doctor should be able to recommend foods that will be good for them, or they may refer your loved one to a dietitian to go over the right kinds of foods and what to avoid.
Do It With Them
To show your constant support, eat healthily with them and make meals at the same time as them to have together.
This will provide them with encouragement and it will also be very beneficial for you as well, it is a win-win.
Remind Them to Take Their Medication
With constant pain, people can forget when to take their medications and they may develop brain fog.
Find out when they need to take their medication during the day as well as how much and either set them an alarm or remind them of the times they need it to help them out.
Get them a pill box that has their daily pills in it, this will help them remember whether they have taken them or not as they will either be there for that day or not.
Encourage Positive Thinking
Going down that upsetting rabbit hole can happen with people who have chronic pain, so it is important that you be positive around them and get them to open up to you about whatever they are feeling.
This doesn’t mean showing them toxic positivity where you tell them to always smile and that they will be fine if they just acted fine.
It means being their dash of sunshine on one of their bad days, encouraging them to talk more about how they are doing, and getting them to do activities so they can feel good.
It will always help them feel better if they have someone in their corner who wants to do the very best for them, so be that person.
Helping someone who deals daily with chronic pain is never going to be easy to do, it can make you feel stressed as well, but, always remember that you are there for each other, and if you are starting to feel worn out, it is essential you get your own help.
You are doing the best that you can with this situation, no one knows straight away how to behave or what to do, so don’t expect yourself to know the ins and outs right away.
Use the tools you have available and know that you are a caring person.