Spouses of Chronic Pain Patients

QUESTION: How can the spouses of chronic pain patients cope?

ANSWER:

How can the spouses of chronic pain patients help? The most important thing that a spouse of someone with chronic pain can do is be a best friend. What is the best thing about a best friend? A best friend listens without complaining and allows the person in chronic pain to vent. Being able to share honestly about how the pain is affecting both the patient and the spouse is crucial to open communication. Open communication is important for the patient to feel understood by their spouse. Likewise, the spouse needs to be free to express his/her frustration at not being able to control the circumstances of chronic pain. Working out problems in a setting where chronic pain can seem overwhelming goes a long way to keeping a marriage intact. Through a gentle touch or a smile, spouses can let the chronic pain patient understand that they are on the same team concerning chronic pain and its management.

Spouses of chronic pain patients can help by being supportive in many practical ways. A spouse can be a second set of eyes and ears at doctor visits and can advocate when necessary for their husband or wife. A spouse can support the need for therapies that the patient deems beneficial for themselves through financial support and encouragement to follow through with treatment. They can encourage self-treatment by providing the optimal atmosphere to accomplish the type of self-treatment that the patient needs to follow.

Spouses of chronic pain patients can provide childcare or do tasks that the chronic pain patient cannot do or that the patient has difficulty doing in order to give him/her time to rest and heal. Spouses can drive patients to therapy and doctor appointments and do household tasks such as washing and drying dishes, laundry, vacuuming and any task that triggers pain. Rest and healing is important for a spouse of a chronic pain patient as well. Therefore, spouses should be sure to take good care of their health through good nutrition, exercise, rest, and breaks from care giving.

How else can the spouses of chronic pain patients help? They can help by encouraging and being encouraged in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Praying for the chronic pain patient and sharing the Word of God together is essential for the patient and the spouse.

Learn More About Chronic Pain

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