Supporting A Spouse, Partner With Chronic Pain
Partners and Spouses with Chronic PainIndividuals unhealthily deal with chronic pain communication in two ways.
- The first is, the individual dealing with the pain talks frequently about it. This can be viewed as constant complaining, resulting in their spouse or partner becoming irritated, cold, resentful, and frustrated by not knowing or being able to help.
- The second way is, again the individual dealing with the pain wants to avoid sounding needy, never talk about the pain. This means instead they deal with the pain in silence. However, this wears the individual down physically and mentally.
Practical SupportWhen it comes to normal daily activities, a common concern is the limitation of activities. This can be anything from exercising, standing, or walking. For the spouse or partner, it’s the same but instead is on the support/aiding side. The key is to clearly express the type of support they do and donâ€™t feel benefits their pain management. For the spouse/partner, expressing the desire and willingness to provide assistance and empathy provides tremendous encouragement and opens the door to team-based healing.
Exercises and StretchesExercise and stretching are an integral part of treatment. There are a variety of exercises that can be done right at home. The addition of a second person is an added benefit. Recommended are easy stretches of the:
- Lower back
- These can ease the muscle spasms that usually happen during an episode.
Spousal Partner MassageA highly beneficial treatment/therapy from a spouse or partner is massage. Professional therapeutic massages provide the greatest relief. However, when not available, having a spouse/partner work out regular short massages around the affected areas provides immense relief. Massaging the body keeps acute conditions from becoming chronic, reducing pain and increasing mobility. This is recommended to fill the gaps in professional chiropractic treatment. Some basic techniques and tips:
- Use broad sweeping strokes with steady pressure across the muscle/s
- Use the heel of the hand to work out the areas
- Use the thumb or knuckle to apply deeper pressure to the area by rubbing in circles or holding down in place
- Use pain cream/ointment and/or massage oil to ease friction and increase blood flow
Daily TasksBasic lifestyle adjustments can also help. Breaking up household chores based on those that cause pain flare-ups, and those that donâ€™t can prevent episodes and make life healthier. For example,
- An individual with a disc injury might not be able to flex forward
- An individual with facet syndrome or osteoarthritis could have problems extending upright
Treatment and RecoveryFinding the root cause of the pain and seeking the most effective treatment possible is the goal. Treatment could involve a combination of several approaches.
- Physical therapy
- Therapeutic massage
- Core-strengthening yoga
- All have been shown to have positive results.