When someone you love or care about lives with chronic pain, knowing what to say to show them you care can often be difficult. And while your comments come with the best intentions, they may not always go down too well with the person who’s in pain.
To help you help your loved one, our Fareham chiropractor reveals the things you should never say to someone living with chronic back pain.
“But you don’t look sick at all.”
What is back pain meant to look like, exactly? No one needs a tattoo saying “sick” to be in pain.
“I am sorry.”
Pity and sympathy are not usually things a person needs when they’re living in chronic pain. Unless it’s your fault that your loved one’s back is causing them grief, don’t say sorry!
“Don’t worry, things will get better.”
General comments that offer no certainty will fall on deaf ears. You and your loved one are both aware that you don’t actually know if things will get better. Your loved one needs your support and understanding, not your empty promises.
“Everyone has bad days.”
Oh, how much a chronic pain sufferer longs to have just one or two bad days! Comparing someone who suffers from chronic pain to a person living a pain-free life is no use whatsoever – no matter how much you’re trying to help.
“At least you don’t have to go work.”
Most people with chronic pain would do anything to get up in the morning and just have to deal with all the normal stresses of the working day. Plus, living with constant pain is hard enough work itself!
“You are so strong; I don’t know how you do it.”
Your loved one doesn’t have a choice, they have to be strong. People living with chronic pain don’t want to be praised for being “strong”; they want to be seen as being healthy.
“Just don’t think about it.”
If they could, they would. And they’ve tried. Over and over again. Chronic pain management relies on a variety of different coping mechanisms and techniques. It is not something that someone can simply stop thinking about, forget and feel better. If only!
It can often be difficult to find the right words to say to someone who’s dealing with chronic pain. But remember that for the most part, people simply want to be believed, to know they’re not alone and that their loved ones are there to listen to them.
Don’t try too hard to have the “answers”. Your support is what really counts.