We tend to think that pain only affects the individual feeling it, but it can be a difficult thing for the people around them to cope with as well. Educating and helping family or friends of someone with pain is incredibly important, however, as family support is shown to greatly increase the outcomes of pain patients.
If you have someone close to you in pain, this is likely going to be a very important resource for you. By managing your own energy and emotions, you can significantly help someone else manage their pain.
Understand That It's Not In Their Head
It needs to be remembered that chronic pain is neurally driven and not not necessarily require a structural cause. Some individuals may be told that their body's are not "worn down" enough or have anything wrong with them, despite being in pain, leading them to scrutiny for continuing to struggle.
Having anyone not believe that they're in pain can be a traumatizing thing, and the depression, anxiety, and stress are likely to cascade the situation and increase the discomfort they are in. Acknowledging your loved one's situation is the first step in helping them to get through it.
They Do Not Want To Be In Pain
Sometimes, a person might seemingly demonstrate a lack of desire to pursue recovery, leading to more accusations of, "You don't even want to get better!" But would you tell someone who's overweight or struggling with depression that they simply don't want to get healthy as well, though?
After living with chronic pain for an extended period of time, it's natural for individuals to begin to identify with it in order to help cope. When this happens, it becomes an inadvertent act to normalize how they feel and have trouble visualizing and looking ahead toward any type of recovery anymore. This does not mean that they have stopped caring about their health, though!
In these cases, support through motivation and reassurance that there is a positive outcome for them is vital. These individuals need to be reminded that there is still a possibility that they won't be in pain (or as much of it) again and that it is an attainable goal.
Whether it be illness, pain, or any other crisis, frustrations are bound to go through the roof at some point. Even when understanding someone's situation, there will be times when enough just seems to be enough.
Remember the importance of communication when it comes to supporting someone in pain. Verbalize your own feelings before they boil over and encourage them to do the same. By doing so, you can help to make sure that the support be given and received does not diminish or become depreciated.
Keep Them Involved
Pain can be incredibly isolating, with removal from work and activities creating the feeling of one's life being shut down. Without finding a way to keep your loved one involved in the world around them, their ability to motivate themselves back toward recovery can quickly plummet.
I've mentioned before how I like to keep my rehab fun and applicable, not necessarily revolved around weights and reps. Even when not prescribed by a healthcare professional, if you can encourage someone to join you for walks, go to the park, spend time with the family, and more, then you're propelling both their physical and mental health recovery.