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How Chronic Pain Affects Our Relationships

January 29, 2020

How Chronic Pain Affects Our Relationships

Chronic pain is a true nuisance in your life. Not only does it force you to manage pain constantly, it also affects your personal relationships. The physical limitations and emotional strain with chronic pain can create friction between your spouse, children, family members, and friends.

Pain management, therefore, goes far beyond simply treating physical symptoms. It encompasses acceptance of a long-term condition and using this understanding to form better and closer relationships with your loved ones. By learning strategies from those who have been affected, you can better manage your pain, and keep friends and family close.

 

Dealing with Chronic Pain: How it Affects your Relationships

The effect chronic pain may have on your social life depends on the amount of pain you are in. But in general, here is how chronic pain affects each one of your relationships.

Your Spouse

The person who will experience the greatest challenge in your life may be your spouse. In addition to the emotional guilt and hurt of seeing you struggling in pain every day, chronic pain also makes it difficult to maintain an intimate relationship. Depending on the source and intensity of the pain, it may even be impossible. Your spouse will have to undertake more household and parenting responsibilities as your ability to function deteriorates. Furthermore, financial pressures due to hospital bills and (potentially) lower income can create additional stress on your relationship.

Your Children

Depending on their age, they may be confused or upset about the circumstances, anxious about their uncertain future, or angry that you're not as energetic or available as before. They may even feel guilty about not being able to help or believe they are the cause of your pain.

Family and Friends

Your loved ones may have difficulty reaching you due to frequent pain flare-ups. Or maybe your self-esteem has dwindled as a result of the illness, so you’d rather stay at home alone. This is the type of negative dialogue many pain patients have. As a result, they withdraw from relationships outside their immediate family, leading to estrangement from family members and friends.

 

Dealing with Chronic Pain: How to Stay Connected

If you’re currently living with chronic pain, you can follow these strategies to stay close to your loved ones:

Find a communication balance 

The important people in your life (especially your wife and children) need to know how you are feeling. Remaining silent will only cause them to feel distant from you. On the other hand, over-sharing can cause them to feel stressed, powerless, or depressed. Part of pain management is finding the right communication balance with your loved ones. Keep in mind that each person in your life requires a different type and amount of communication.

Discuss sex with your spouse 

Chronic pain can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy sex life with your partner. Which means you will both have to try even harder to create a good balance. Make plans that fit your medication schedule, as well as the hourly variation of your pain. Don’t hesitate to experiment with new positions that reduce or eliminate pain, and make the overall love-making process more enjoyable.

Avoid canceling plans 

Whether with your family or friends, don't let chronic pain stop you from keeping promises and interacting with others. Frequent cancellation of plans can be disappointing for your loved ones. Friends and family members may be able to forgive a few times a year, but you must also be mindful of other people’s schedules. If you can gather up the strength to go out, you should.

Help out with manageable household chores 

If you are unable to perform certain chores due to your illness, replace them with other tasks that you can easily perform. This will ensure that you remain a functional and contributing member of the family.

Ask for help

Don’t let your ego get in the way of asking for help. Besides, you can actually strengthen the bond between your loved ones by giving them a chance to help you. Maybe your family members actually want to help, but don’t know how or are afraid of offending you. Next time, when you're struggling with something around the house, ask them to lend a hand.

 

Dealing with Chronic Pain: How to Manage your Pain

When you’re living with pain, it makes it hard to do things you like. Sometimes, it’s even hard to think about anything else besides your pain—including the people around you. With a good pain management regimen, you still might not be able to avoid pain completely, but you will be able to take control of your life.

Minimize your stress levels

Studies have shown that stress can intensify chronic pain. Negative emotions such as anxietydepressionanger and stress can impact your body's sensitivity to pain. A key aspect of pain management, therefore, is learning to minimize or eliminate stress. Certain techniques are known to reduce stress and promote relaxation. For example, listening to calming music (ones designed specifically for relaxation) can do wonders for chronic pain. Mental imagery meditation (also called guided imagery meditation) can help you relax your mind. Headspace has a free online trial where beginners can practice guided meditation. Other popular relaxation techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and aromatherapy.

Join a support group

When you’re surrounded by others who live with chronic pain and understand your experiences, you feel less alone. You also learn from their pain management strategies and wisdom. In addition to support groups, you should consider visiting a mental health professional. People living with chronic pain are prone to developing mental illnesses like depression. A counsellor can help you maintain a healthier mental attitude and avoid negative thoughts that worsen pain symptoms. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Maintain a healthy diet

Sustaining a well-balanced diet aids digestive process, improves blood sugar levels, reduces heart disease risk, and helps maintain weight. If you’re battling chronic pain, choose a diet plan that’s low-fat, low-sodium and anti-inflammatory. Fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals and breads, low-fat dairy products, fibre-enriched foods, and lean meats.

 

Can Kratom Help with Chronic Pain?

According to a scientific article published by the College of Pharmacy in Arizona, Kratom is used for a range of health reasons that relate to chronic pain, mood disorders, and substance withdrawal mitigation. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 5 million Kratom users. Despite these stats shared by the American Kratom Association, the FDA and DEA have been fighting against the Kratom community, strongly urging people against the natural plant.

As of 2020, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of Kratom. Therefore, we recommend people conduct their own research and consult with a healthcare professional. Many users regularly share testimonials online on sites like Reddit, Twitter, and Kratom Guides. 




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