Some patients who experience long term unrelieved pain suffer because it changes who they are as a person. Chronic pain promotes a stress response in the body that effects brain chemicals, causes tiredness, mood changes, muscle pain, impaired physical ability, and cloudy thinking. All of these things create more stress and disability, trapping the pain patient in a vicious cycle.
To add to this, pain suffereers are often unable to contine thier work, have a normal family life, and suportive relationships with friends and others. (1)
So how can you, as thier partner in life, help them to overcome this and break the vicious cycle?
Research has shown that in situations where a person has chronic pain, psychological factors have a big impact on them and people close to them. This means that how they perceive their symptoms, how well they think they can take care of themselves and accomplish the tasks of daily living, and thier fears about their condition have an impact on their quality of life. (2)
These posts can offer many tips and ideas. Comments are welcome.
(1) Chapman, J. Gavin. “Suffering: the contributions of persistent pain.” The Lancet, June 26, 1999. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(99)01308-2
(2) D. Turk, A. Okifuji. “Psychological factors in chronic pain: Evolution and revolution.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 70(3), Jun 2002, 678-690.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.70.3.678