Seeing someone, you love in pain is never easy. The unfortunate fact is that most of us are either struggling with pain ourselves or watching as a coworker or loved one tries to manage theirs.
Research consistently indicates that approximately 80% of the adults in our country routinely experience some back pain. This condition, which can become chronic, is one of the main reasons for missing work and – much less discussed – diminishing quality of life.
The Problem with Pain
The problem with pain is that it doesn’t end on the physical level. Many people who are in pain on a regular basis either feel isolated or become isolated. For this reason, it is important that friends, family members, and even colleagues attempt to gain understanding. From there, empathy can be given, and that can make an enormous difference in a person’s life.
Where to Start
Understanding that there is an emotional struggle associated with chronic pain is a big step in easing the tension and anxiety of another. But there are action steps, as well, that may be taken:
- Sometimes, what a person in pain needs is a listening ear. This does not mean that you listen momentarily or passively, but that you respond in a supportive manner to the person expressing whatever degree of frustration, sadness, or anger they feel in a given moment.
- Not the person who is in pain, but yourself. The more you understand about the painful condition a friend or family member is experiencing, the more compassion you have toward them on their roughest days.
- A large part of pain management is to minimize strain, and this can be a challenge to take on independently. Perhaps you can help your loved on rearrange furniture or personal items in a manner that will keep them from bending too low or reaching overhead.
- Tailor the workplace. It isn’t only household furniture and belongings that present challenges. Often, pain originates in and is perpetuated by workplace ergonomics. Help a loved one or coworker obtain the chair and desk support that is needed to foster good posture.
Schedule a Consultation
Of the steps you can take to help a friend in need, referring them to our New York City orthopedic office may be just what they need. Call 212-606-1004.