It is important to discuss these concerns with family members, friends, physicians, or support service professionals (psychologist, social worker, etc.) in order to take advantage of options that are available and may actually lead to pain relief and improvement in the overall quality of life.
Planning is a key component to keeping stress levels down and a great way for family and friends to learn how they can help. Having the patient map out a plan of action for daily routines and responsibilities allows everyone to know when and where their help is needed and minimizes unexpected mishaps. Responsibilities that may need to be addressed include carpools, housework, cooking, holiday activities, laundry, leisure activities, jobs, pet care, planning meals, self-care, and shopping.
Pain patients should be encouraged to stay active, join a support group or seek psychological counseling if appropriate. Some patients find benefit in getting involved in volunteer work, which allows them to set their own hours and to feel they can contribute to others instead of just focusing on their own condition. Patients also be able counsel others with chronic pain.
Caregivers and friends can encourage the patient to do well and get treatments they are comfortable with. Find the balance between encouragement and pressure so the patient knows you love them and that no matter what they choose you will accept it.
It can be difficult (or impossible) to imagine that someone can be in constant severe pain. It's normal if you have not lived through it yourself. For a caregiver, it may be hard to stand by and accept that your loved one’s pain cannot be fixed or cured (although it may be eased).
It may also be hard to accept that you cannot make it better. If you are in a close relationship with someone in chronic pain, you are likely to develop a variety of negative feelings like anger or resentment. This is a normal part of the process for both you and the loved one in pain. You are both victims of the pain problem.
Learn how to set the expectation as soon as you can as to what your needs are as a patient or caregiver, what progression the chronic illness is expected to take, what treatment options are available, and the best ways to communicate with each other what will make life easier for the patient, family and caregivers.
Turning to family and friends as caregivers and support outlets is important for everyone to have better daily living.