Often, a lot of people don’t know what to do or say when someone they care about – whether it’s a friend or family member – develops an acute pain condition.
Whether it’s chronic back pain, severe headaches or migraine, or whatever another type of chronic pain condition they are in, support and encouragement from you will go a long way.
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Don’t Make Assumptions
When a person suffers from chronic back pain, some days are worse than others. The level of pain varies from day to day. The symptoms come and go, and many times, the sufferers don’t reveal the pain to their friends or family.
It’s an unpredictable condition that leaves the person feeling okay one day and not their best the next. Thus, try hard to be understanding as much as you can.
Empathize with them but don’t make assumptions. Just because those with chronic back pain don’t share their pain doesn’t mean they are not suffering from it.
Don’t let the unpredictability of chronic back pain stop you from hanging out or inviting your friend over for dinner or a movie. Try not to make assumptions that just because someone has chronic pain, they automatically can’t do anything. Extending an invitation so they won’t feel left out is a beautiful thing to do.
With that being said since we mentioned that chronic pain is unpredictable, if your friend cancels, be understanding. Don’t make them feel like your invitation is compulsory. And don’t take it personally if they cancel. Instead, check on them and see if they need anything. Remember not to show up unexpectedly.
If they refuse a visit from you, it’s most likely because of the uncertainty of their pain. Know that the decision not to engage with you wasn’t made easily.
Know What Requests They Have
Accommodating them according to their requests go hand-in-hand with not making any assumptions about what they do or don’t need. It’s essential to communicate thoughtfully with a person suffering from chronic back pain.
However, there’s a fine line between communicating and being intrusive. We can still be supportive and compassionate without verging on being intrusive.
If you live with the person with chronic pain, try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Only they will know what can help alleviate their pain; what may be an odd request to you is something extremely beneficial for them.
Encouragement Not Criticisms
In any situation, it’s tempting to offer unsolicited advice. A lot of the times, you’re not even aware that you’re doing it. When you know someone with chronic back pain, your help and support may come in the form of suggesting treatment, medications, or therapies you may have read or heard somewhere.
However, this is not a good idea. Unless your friend asks for it, avoid offering unsolicited medical advice. No matter how well your intentions are, medical advice should only be given by qualified healthcare professionals.
Never Say These Things
To help in your relationship and interactions with your loved one with chronic pain, here are some things you should never say to them.
“Why Can’t You Ever Hanging Out?”
Chronic pain sufferers may seem like they’re avoiding you. In reality, they probably want nothing more than to have fun and go out with friends.
Unfortunately, depending on the intensity of their pain, they can’t just easily come out. Don’t ever guilt trip them, especially when they are most likely feeling down already.
“The Pain Is Just in Your Head” or “It Can’t Be That Bad”
This statement is a bad assumption. Saying something like this is invalidating their condition. It’s questioning the truthfulness of their pain.
These statements put sufferers on the defensive, which is just added stress on their part. As a friend, you don’t ever want to add to the pain and stress that they are feeling.
“Did You Hear About This Latest Pain Reliever Medicine?”
When your friend confides that he or she is suffering from chronic back pain, you may immediately go online and do your own research to help them. As you know, the internet offers a wealth of information about a multitude of subject matters.
No matter what medical or health information you stumble upon online, don’t feel like you can share anything with them.
Be a Friend
We all make mistakes. And we can’t always say the right thing every time. However, don’t let this stop you from being a genuine friend. We hope today’s post encourages you to have more empathy towards someone living with chronic back pain.