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Chronic Pain in Relationships

August 17th, 2015 8:20am

Chronic Pain in Relationships

Chronic pain is an illness that not only affects people physically, but also mentally and emotionally.  This illness attacks the body, causing the victim to live in pain and agony.  After living with this as a daily struggle, it starts to affect the body in ways beyond just physical.  Can you relate to this experience? If you can, then you know what comes next.  Mentally, you can only handle so much pain and bear so many realities of everyday life.  This can then lead to emotional and relational distress. You may even struggle with having healthy romantic and platonic relationships.

Physically, your chronic pain is likely limiting you.  In a romantic relationship, this can greatly affect intimacy.  No amount of counseling or doctor’s appointments can change the sensitivity and achyness you experience, furthering the need to keep physical interaction at a distance.  In platonic relationships, this physical limitation can affect activities and outings with friends and family.  Friends who loved to hike or go on runs together are unable to participate in those activities.  Even meeting up for dinner or going to a movie can be too exhausting and uncomfortable when in a lot of pain.  Simple activities that friends and family members once did now seem impossible.

As humans, our natural response to anyone in need to is to help fix the problem or better the situation.  It is not that friends and family care any less, they just do not know how to respond, which can negatively impact communication between two people.  Oftentimes, friends or family may begin to distance themselves because they do not know how to help or handle the situation.  As a result, this creates a sense of isolation.

After learning about how relationships can be affected by chronic pain, here are a few ways to take control of them.  

First: Communication-  Both people in the relationship need to be open with each other and communicate.  While difficult, it is best to be honest with your loved ones about how you are feeling. If you are in a lot of pain the day you have plans, communicate your feelings and either have a more relaxing day with them or schedule for a time that the pain is not as intense.  This can apply to intimacy with a spouse as well. Planning intimacy around medication schedules and the time of day that seems to be the least painful can be extremely helpful!  

Second: Determine Which Activities Do/Do Not Cause Pain- When it comes to relationships, it can benefit everyone if you share which activities increase pain and which are more tolerable.  Friends and family can then think of ways to spend time with you without causing more pain and distress.  This will encourage you not to cancel plans and isolate yourself, strengthening your relationships as a result.

Third: Ask For Help- Oftentimes, loved ones want to help but are not sure how.  Being asked for help can make them feel closer eliminating the sense of isolation from one another. These few steps can positively impact relationships.  

Recovia is a functional flex-care program that aims to maximize recovery for individuals suffering from chronic pain, injury, or dependency.  The mission is to provide a compassionate, comprehensive, cost effective, and individualized functional rehabilitation program.  For more information, please contact us at 480-712-4600 or visit our information page.

The advice and information provided herein is for educational purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.  Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.


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