Supporting someone living with pain

Pain can easily be misjudged by those who are not experiencing the pain firsthand, and their condition may change from day to day. An individual may sound better or look healthy but in reality, that person may be struggling to seem normal. For loved ones and friends of someone who is living with pain, it can be overwhelming. But there are many ways they can provide support.


Active listening can help friends, family, and work colleagues listen to, become aware of, and be compassionate toward the feelings of individuals living with pain. Strengthening relationships with your most trusted network, rather than removing yourself to isolation, is critical to effectively managing pain.

Support network

A support network can help individuals who are feeling isolated, misunderstood, or depressed. By empathizing, sharing a positive outlook, and engaging in social activities, individuals living with pain may benefit from a reduction in their perception of pain.

Physical support

Helping with physical activities such as laundry, vacuuming, and grocery shopping can provide pain relief and give an individual time for physical and mental rehabilitation.


Pain is a condition where many symptoms are invisible to others. Validation communicates an understanding and acceptance of others’ experiences. Both are critical to building a trusting and supportive relationship for individuals experiencing life with pain.


Patient education and self-management are critical to helping clinical decision making that results in the best pain management outcomes. The more information that you can share with your physician (eg, pain journal, symptom awareness), the sooner you are likely to find the right diagnosis and treatment plan.

The more you learn, the more you can help

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