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Helping Friends & Relatives Who Suffer With Chronic Pain

Woman helping with the ironingWatching a loved one suffering from chronic pain can be a challenging experience. One of the difficulties expressed by people in this position is knowing what support they can provide.

With this in mind, we have undertaken a little research to find examples of some of the nicest gestures friends and family members have done to help a loved one affected by a chronic pain illness (such as fibromyalgia).
We thought we’d share a few of our favourite examples with you…

  • Offer to accompany your friend to a hospital appointment
    We all know that attending a hospital appointment can be a pretty unpleasant experience. The wait, in itself, may be particularly daunting: leaving you with time on your hands to build up worry, or negatively reflect upon the meeting ahead. Why not check with your loved one to see if they have an upcoming appointment and, if you can make yourself available, offer to take them along and wait with them. The fact that you have even offered will let them know how important they are to you!
  • Educate yourself
    By educating yourself about the symptoms and treatments of chronic pain, you can better support your friend or partner as they learn to cope with their illness. Whilst you can’t provide a cure for their chronic pain condition, you can let them know that you understand a little of what they might be going through. There are plenty of great resources on the internet that will provide you with some helpful information to get started. Here are just a few:

  • Show support through your dietary choiceshealthy food
    If your loved one has been told to avoid certain foods (that might cause a flare in symptoms), a nice gesture might be to offer to prepare a special meal that takes any of his/her dietary requirements into account.
  • Help out with the household chores
    Anybody that suffers with chronic pain will know that even seemingly simple household chores can become a real cause for consternation. As Nina McLean, a 31-year-old midwife in Melbourne (Australia) explains:
    “When I was in heaps of pain, the thought of changing fitted sheets and sorting out the buttons or snaps on a duvet cover made me turn cold.”
    Why not ask your friend/partner if there are any chores around the house that they could do with a pair of helping hands with. Even scheduling in a couple of hours could potentially make a world of difference to them.
  • Give the gift of warmth
    Applying warmth to achy joints can have a really soothing effect, so heat pads or a hot water bottle are great gift ideas for anybody suffering from chronic pain. Along similar lines, a beautiful warm blanket would make another thoughtful gift: etsy has a particularly gorgeous selection.
    You can check out some other great gift ideas here.

Becoming a caregiver
If you want to provide more in depth support for someone you know who is in pain have put together some excellent resources that you might find useful.

“Taking an active role in helping to manage a loved one’s pain may help you feel more useful and worry less.”

Do you care for a loved one who suffers with a chronic pain condition? What tips can you share that have really made a difference to your friend or partner’s quality of life?

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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