Talk to Your Healthcare Professional About Your Pain.

If you’re living with pain, only you know just how much you are hurting. Since pain can’t be seen, or accurately measured, it’s important for you to speak up. That’s because pain doesn’t just affect you physically, it can take a toll on your emotions, your relationships, and how you feel about yourself. Talking to your physician is the necessary first step to get the pain treatment and management you need.

Use Language

That Can Help Them Understand.

Describing the pain you’re experiencing can be difficult. There isn’t one established way to talk to your healthcare professional about pain, so you may find yourself struggling to explain the level of pain and suffering you’re dealing with. The key is to explain how long you’ve been in pain—and how it’s affecting your daily life. Talk about the frequency of your pain, its duration and how it impacts your daily activities and relationships with others.

Getting the Support You Need —

From Family and Loved Ones.

Pain can put a tremendous strain on your relationships, both inside and outside of your immediate family. That’s because it can be hard for others to understand the pain you’re facing and how much it impacts your daily life. This may cause you to feel isolated, decline invitations and avoid friends. Remember, you are not alone. Talking to your loved ones and people who have experienced chronic pain can help.

Find Dignity in Your Pain.

While you may choose to bravely move on with life and push through your pain, some may not recognize your efforts. It can also be hard to rely on others for support. Be realistic about what you can do on your own, and ask for the help you need. Keeping fit, eating healthy, and finding less physically demanding work may help alleviate your pain – but talk to your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.

Find Meaning

and a Sense of Purpose in Your Life.

No longer being able to hold down a job, or fulfill your role as a parent, spouse or partner, can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and sense of purpose in life. Boredom can be a challenge as pain limits your abilities. New home-based hobbies or interests, and using your free time to strengthen ties with your family can help. A positive outlook, in spite of your pain, can lead to a more meaningful life.

Maintaining Control of Your Life.

The uncertainty and unpredictability that come with an injury or illness, can make it difficult to adjust to what is now the “new normal.” It’s important to take advantage of the times when you have less intense pain to get things accomplished, while being careful not to overexert yourself. You might choose to become your own medical advocate, both educating yourself and finding the right team of medical professionals for you.

Overcoming Stigma.

If you’re living with pain, you may encounter relatives, friends or those in the medical community who misjudge you. This can cause anxiety. Remember that your pain is personal, as is the way you and your medical team treat it. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with them and look to other avenues of support – like joining a support group. Remember to always maintain a healthy respect for the risks and benefits of treatment.

Maintaining Hope in All Circumstances.

Living with pain is an emotional journey and you may struggle to stay hopeful when faced with the negative emotions that can sometimes occur. In fact, you may have to adjust your outlook and set more attainable goals; instead of hoping for less pain, hoping for periods of less pain. There is also preliminary evidence that those who manage to maintain a more optimistic outlook seem to do better. Here are a few additional approaches you might consider:

  • • Seek support from your care team, friends and family
  • • Focus on positive thinking, through counseling or meditation
  • • Find people to talk to who understand what you are experiencing
  • • Engage in activities that may you feel happy
  • • Avoid negativity, including negative people