Individuals living with chronic pain are not only patients, they are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, etc. It is hard to cultivate these familial relationships and enjoy time with those you love while you are experiencing chronic pain. The Summer 2011 issue of Pain Pathways magazine (page 34) spent a lot of time reflecting on this issue and came up with a few tips and tricks to help those who are parents and are also suffering from chronic pain. They divided it up by age range in order to give more specialized and relevant advice.
For parents of very young children, such as toddlers and kindergarteners, it is best to explain your pain by using simple, concrete words to explain the situation. It is also very important to mention that the child is not the reason for the pain and that they will still be taken care of even though their parent is in pain. As the children progress into school-age, you can become more detailed and can admit uncertainty when asked questions you don't know the answer to. Additionally, you can put a concrete plan into place for day to day living, since children at this age rely on concrete plans and routines to feel comfortable. At the ages of adolescence and beyond, you can become even more detailed and explicit with your pain management and chronic pain symptoms. You are also encouraged to answer all questions as completely and honestly as possible. If chronic pain is a truly pervasive and negative part of your relationship with your children, family therapy may also be a good option to consider at this point.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a lawyer located in Altoona, PA who has successfully negotiated claims for those who have chronic pain as the result of personal injury. For more information on him and his firm, please click here.