“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
When you live with persistent pain, you may sometimes feel overwhelmed, upset or alone. But it’s useful to know there’s a lot of help available to get you through these periods and to help you live well.
First it’s important to remember that pain can be managed.
And the best way to manage pain is to have a team of people around you. This team of health professionals, family, friends and support groups will treat, support, encourage, motivate, inspire and help you along the way.
At the heart of the team is you. You’re the central player. You know how your body is feeling and what problems you’re having.
Your team will include people who share your day-to-day struggles and triumphs. This includes your family and close friends. Talk to them openly and honestly about your pain and ask for help when you need it. This may be as simple as a lift to your doctor’s appointment or doing a load of laundry, to being available to chat when you’re feeling sad or anxious. Most people are very happy to help out – they just need to be asked.
Your general practitioner (GP) will also be a key team member and will likely be the health professional you see the most. They can help you manage day-to-day and help you access other health professionals and services.
Other health professionals will play large and small roles in your support team. You’ll see some of them regularly and others only as needed. Depending on your pain and any other health issues you have, you may see a variety of health professionals including: pain specialist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, pharmacist, dietitian, podiatrist and surgeon.
Meeting with people who know what you’re going through, who have similar conditions and experiences, can help. If you’re not already part of a support group, you might be interested in finding a group of people that you can share with and learn from. Many groups meet face-to-face, but there are others that you can access via websites or social media.
People in your neighbourhood who provide services such as massage, healthy foods, and other things that assist you (e.g. help with chores around the house and garden) may also have a role in your team.
As you can see, there’s a lot of support and people wanting to help you manage your pain. If you feel like your team is missing some key players, talk with your GP about how you can access them.