How to understand someone with chronic pain..

Chronic pain is a condition that lasts for three months or longer and continues after the injury or condition is treated. The experience of acute pain is the natural response of the nervous system to a possible injury. With chronic pain, however, signs of abnormal pain continue. This can be both distressing and exhausting for those who suffer from chronic pain. In some cases of chronic pain, there was an injury, illness or infection that caused pain first. In other people, however, chronic pain appears and continues without a history of these events. [1]  To understand suffering from chronic pain, you must learn about chronic pain, be supportive and know what to say and what not to say.

Part 1 Information about chronic pain

1. To know more about the victim’s pain.  The experience of each patient’s chronic pain is unique. It can be useful if they talk about the condition and their daily battle with pain. The more you know about what chronic pain suffers you are going through, the more you will be able to understand what it is for them.

  • Do they suffer from a back sprain, severe infection or is there a permanent cause of pain such as arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, or some other type of nerve damage? Know when the pain started, and do some research or read stories about people with similar problems.
  • Sometimes doctors can not find the source of the pain. It is only present.
  • Do not push a person suffering from chronic pain to talk about things they do not want. For some people, with what they just did until they feel worse.
  • Common chronic pain complaints include headache, back pain, arthritis pain, pain from damage to the peripheral nerves or the central nervous system or pain without any known source.
  • A person may have more than one chronic pain condition co-existing, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, sciatica, peripheral neuropathy, or inflammatory bowel disease, or depression.
  • Accept that words may be inadequate to describe how the patient feels. Remember a time when you experienced a lot of pain and imagine that the pain is present twenty-four hours a day every day without relief for the rest of your life. It’s hard to find the words for that kind of pain.

2. Learn the code.  A numerical scale of pain is used to measure pain intensity so health providers can check the effectiveness of the treatment. A scale of 1 to 10 describes the level of pain. 1 is “no pain, it feels wonderful” and 10 is the “worst pain you have ever felt.” Get where you are on the pain scale.

  • Do not assume that the chronic pain sufferer is not experiencing pain if they say they are OK. Many sufferers try to hide the pain due to a lack of understanding of others.
  • When asked about their pain level, patients with chronic pain can not give their actual level of pain. Because your pain is chronic, you are accustomed to a certain level of pain and can only accept that as normal or no pain. You can only be given a correct level of pain when you have some form of acute pain, when the “normal” level of pain you live with daily changes, when you experience pain that now feels different (ie, “shoot” instead of “Pain”, “burning” instead of throbbing “), or when asked directly about their current levels of acute and chronic pain.

3. Recognize coping skills.  When you have the flu, and probably will feel impossible within a few days or weeks, but do your best to function. They suffer from chronic pain, they have probably been feeling bad for a long time. They may have adopted mechanisms that hide the true level of pain they feel coping with or may not have the strength to function normally.

4. Be aware of the symptoms of depression.  Chronic pain can cause secondary depression (do not get depressed and down if you are suffering constantly for months or years?). Depression can be directly due to chronic pain and chronic pain can be directly due to depression.

  • Depression can cause some people to show less emotion, which can mask the pain because the patient stops making it known. Always be on the lookout for signs of depression, and do not confuse this with any less pain.
  • Depression can also make people show more emotion (crying and tears in their eyes, anxious, irritable, sad, lonely, despair, fear of the future, easily agitated, angry, frustrated, hyper / over talkative due to medications / need to ventilate / lack of sleep). This, like your pain level, can vary from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.
  • One of the worst things you can do is leave someone with chronic pain. That gives them one more reason to be depressed, to feel alone and not to be very positive. Try to be there for them and show them that they support however you can.

5. Respect physical limitations.  With many diseases, a person will show obvious signs of diseases, such as fever, paralysis or broken bones. With chronic pain, however, there is no way to know what a person’s ability to cope with movement is like at a given time. You can not always read on your face or in your body language either.

  • The victim can not know, from the first day to day, how he will feel when they wake up. Each day has to be taken as it comes. This can be confusing for everyone, but it is very frustrating for the patient.
  • Being able to stand for ten minutes does not mean that the patient can stand up for twenty minutes or an hour. The fact that the person managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday does not imply that they will be able to do the same thing today.
  • Movement is not the only limitation that chronic pain sufferers may experience. One of ability to sit, walk, concentrate and be sociable can also be affected.
  • Understand a lot if the chronic pain sufferer says that they have to sit down, lie down, stay in bed or take these pills   at this time  . It probably means that they have no other choice and can not put it off just because they happen to be somewhere or are in the middle of doing something. Chronic pain does not wait for anyone.

6. Look for signs of pain.  Making a grimace, restlessness, irritability, mood swings, wringing hands, moaning, sleep disturbance, teeth grinding, lack of concentration, decreased activity and perhaps even noting suicidal thoughts or language can indicate suffering or pain. Be sensitive to what is happening.

7. Know that chronic pain is real.  You might think that suffering from chronic pain go to doctors because they seek attention, like or are hypochondriacs. What you are really doing is looking for something to improve the quality of your life, and often you are looking for the cause of your pain if you do not know it. Nobody wants to feel the way they do it, but they have no other choice.

8. Recognize what you can not know.  Pain is a difficult thing to describe to another person. It is considered personal and is based on the two psychological and physical parts of us. Even if you are very empathetic, do not assume that you know exactly how you feel about that person. Sure, you know how it feels for you, but each one of us is different, and it’s impossible to get into a person’s skin and feel their pain.

Part 2 being supportive

1. Practical empathy.  Being empathetic means trying to understand another person’s feelings, perspectives and the behavior of seeing the world through their eyes. This knowledge is used to guide what you do to and say to that person. People with chronic pain are different than they are in some ways, but they are also very similar to you, so focus on what they have in common and try to understand the differences.

  • Being sick does not mean that the patient is no longer a human being. Although suffering from chronic pain spend most of the day in considerable pain, they still want the same things that healthy people want. They also want to enjoy work, family, friends and leisure activities.
  • The chronic pain sufferer may feel as if they were trapped inside a body in which they have little or no control. Pain puts everything that used to be enjoyed out of reach and can contribute to feelings of helplessness, sadness and depression.
  • Try to remember the luck that you have to be physically able to do all the things that can be done. Then you can imagine if you could not.

2. The respect that the person who suffers it is doing its best.  They can try to face, cheerful sound and normal appearance as often as possible. They live their lives to the best of their ability. Keep in mind that when the chronic pain patient says they are in pain – they are!

3. Listen  One of the best things you can do for a person suffering chronic pain is to listen to them. To be a good listener, pay attention and try to understand what is going on inside that person so you can understand how they feel and what is really needed.

  • Make it clear that you want to hear what they have to say. Many people with chronic pain feel that others do not believe them or ridicule them for being weak.
  • Try to decipher what they are hiding or minimizing through body language and tone of voice.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Sharing means that both give something. To create a strong empathic bond and really make your matter of change, you will have to reveal your true feelings, beliefs and experiences.

4. Be patient.  If you find yourself being impatient and wanting the victim to “just go ahead with it”, by risking a trip of guilt in the person suffering from pain and undermining their determination to cope. You may want to comply with your requests to do things, but you do not have the strength or ability to cope as a result of the pain.

  • Do not be discouraged if the one who suffers chronic pain seems delicate. They have been going through a lot. Chronic pain wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. These people do everything possible to cope with how exhausting and exasperating is the pain, but they can not always be right. Try to accept them as they are.
  • A chronic pain victim may have to cancel a previous commitment at the last minute. If this happens, please do not take it personally.

5. Be useful.  The chronic pain sufferer depends largely on people who are not sick to support them at home or visit when they are too sick to go out. Sometimes they need help to bathe, get dressed, personal care, etc. They may need help to go to the doctor. It can be your link to the “normal” of life and help them stay in touch with the parts of life that you miss and desperately want to accomplish again.

  • Many people offer to help, but they are not really there when asked to be. If you offer to help, be sure to follow through. The person with chronic pain who cares depends on you.

6. Balance of your care responsibilities.  If you are living with a person suffering from chronic pain or supporting a person like that on a regular basis, what you need to maintain balance in your own life. If you do not take care of your own needs, the balance of health and work-life, being close to the chronic pain sufferer can really take you down. Avoid the suffering of caregiver burned by making other people and to help take time. Caring for this person as much as he is capable, but remember that he must also take care of himself.

7. Deal with dignity.  Although the person with chronic pain has changed, they think the same. Remember what they are and the things they did before the pain was made so bad. They are still the intelligent mind that made a good life in a job that they may have loved and had no choice but to give up. Be kind, attentive and not condescending.

  • Punishing a sick person for not going ahead with something will make them feel worse and show them that they really do not understand. Those who experience chronic pain and deal with more than most could never understand. Try to understand why they could not move forward.

8. Include them in your life.  The fact that someone can not do certain activities very often or is canceled earlier does not mean that they should not be asked to join you or should hide that you have plans for them. There may be some days when the activity is manageable, and chronic pain is isolating enough! Please understand and keep asking.

9. Offer a hug.  Instead of suggesting how patients can fix their pain, consider empathy and give them a gentle hug to let them know that you are there to support them. They already hear and see an endless number of doctors who tell them how to solve or help their chronic pain.

  • Sometimes, just putting your hand on a person’s shoulder can help give them comfort. Remember that it must be soft. Use a soft touch, something to help them connect.

Part 3 Knowing what to say

1. Leave your talk for your children and gymmates.  Realizing that chronic pain is variable and words of encouragement can be aggravating and demoralizing for the chronic pain sufferer. If you want them to do something, then ask if you can and respect their response.

  • Try not to say: “But he did it before” or “Oh, come on, I know you can do this!”
  • Staying as active as possible and participating in activities such as walking, biking, and tai chi can help relieve muscle and joint pain. Sometimes, being sedentary causes pain to get worse. However, do not lecture about the value of exercise and fresh air. For a person suffering from chronic pain, these things may not help the pain and can often aggravate it. Telling them that they need to exercise or do something to “get their mind off of it” can frustrate them. If they were able to do these things some or all of the time, they would.
  • Another statement that hurts is: “You just have to push yourself more, try harder”. Sometimes participating in a single activity for a short or long period of time can cause more damage and physical pain for the chronic pain you suffer by not mentioning the recovery time, which can be intense.
  • An individual with chronic pain does not need to be told “You are too sensitive”, “You have to deal with him better” or “You have to do it for X, Y or Z”. Of course they are sensitive! You have no idea what to cope with or how much pain or concern they are dealing with.

2. Do not play doctor.  They suffer from chronic pain are constantly working with doctors, trying to improve and do the right things for their illness. The user can not give the correct advice, especially if they are not medically trained and have no idea what that person is dealing with.

  • Be sensitive when suggesting medications or alternative treatments. Prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and alternative therapies can have side effects and unintended consequences.
  • Some patients may not appreciate suggestions, but it is not because they do not want to be healthy. You may have heard about it or have already tried it. They may not be prepared to face a new treatment that can create an additional burden on their lives and have them too. The treatments that have not worked carry the emotional pain of failure, which in itself can make the person feel worse.
  • If there is something that is cured or helped people with a particular form of chronic pain like theirs, then let the patient know when they seem receptive and are ready to listen. Be sensitive to how to play the subject.
  • Do not report prescription medications if they have been prescribed by a doctor. Pain control is difficult to manage and some days these patients may require more pain medication than others. Tolerance is not addiction.
  • Avoid judging the use of drugs carried out by patients with chronic pain.

3. Never use disposable lines.  Do not assume that you know better by making statements such as “Ah, well, that’s life, you’re going to have to deal with that”, or “You’ll get over it with time”, “Until then, you’ll just have to do your best” , or worst of all, ‘Well, you look pretty good’, etc. These lines are a way to distance yourself from the sick person. Often, it only makes the patient feel worse and out of hope.

  • People who live with chronic pain know how they feel and are very aware of their situation, so avoid projecting into the suffering the way they think they should be feeling.
  • Throw lines of life instead of using and throwing lines saying something like, “So, how can I help you,” or “Is there anything I can do to help deal with your pain?”

4. Do not compare health problems.  Do not say “I’ve had that before and now I’m fine”. It shows their lack of understanding and makes the person living with chronic pain feel like a failure that they can not handle what they are experiencing and others would do a much better job in the same situation.

5. Be positive.  It is horrible to live with chronic pain, but it is even worse when people renounce them, they misunderstand or spread negativity. Daily life can be difficult and very lonely for those who suffer from chronic pain. Constant support, offering hope and showing your love are things that are key to communicating with them.

  • Comfort those with chronic pain, and let them know that you are there for them. A faithful friend is a protector of life!

6. Ask about your treatment.  To investigate the degree of patient satisfaction is with their treatment. It is important to ask useful questions about whether the chronic victim thinks his treatment is satisfactory or whether they believe his pain is bearable. People rarely ask themselves these open “votes” questions that could help the chronic victim open up and really talk.

7. Ask how they are.  Do not stop asking someone with chronic pain “How are you?” Just because the answer might be uncomfortable for you. It may be the only opportunity to show that you care about their well-being. And if you do not like the answer, remember that it is your answer, not your opinion.

  • When the sick person finally opens up to someone, they should not be told to “talk about it too much” or that it is “the only thing they talk about”. Recognize that pain is likely to be a large part of their lives. I may not want to talk about things like vacations, shopping, sports or gossip.

8.   Know that silence is good too.  Sometimes silence sharing together is good, and the patient is happy to have them there with them. You do not have to fill every minute of conversation with words. Your presence says a lot!

9. admit when you do not have answers.  Do not use commonplaces or bold allegations that are not based on hiding your ignorance. It’s not much, even the medical community does not know about chronic pain. There is no harm in saying “I do not know” and then offering to discover things .

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