Back Pain and Communication–4 Tips For Helpful Dialogue
Trying to bring understanding and support to loved ones who live in daily pain is not a skill that you learn overnight. Back pain and communication is a tricky subject. As someone who lives with a mother suffering from chronic back pain, I have learned over the years that thoughtful dialogue can be very helpful in establishing trust and self- esteem. Back pain and communication, if it’s to have positive results, must focus on two goals:
- You mustn’t in any way minimize the struggle that daily pain poses for a back pain sufferer.
- You have to help the back pain sufferer realize that he or she is more than their pain. You are in a good position to make them see that they are a whole person.
That said, here are the tips:
Tip 1—Acknowledge The Pain
Pain can sometimes, like static on the radio, interfere with how well one hears. So, instead of saying something like: “ I’m getting tired of repeating myself. Why don’t you listen?” say this instead: “It must be tough to be distracted by pain when you’re trying to talk to me. Tell me what’s going on.”
By doing this, you’re asking “what’s your pain?” You are acknowledging them. For a perspective, see the following video.
Tip 2— The Pain is Only Part of You
Once you have established that you understand what their pain is, you can then start the process of making the back pain sufferer understand that the pain is “only part of them.” Remember that as a loved one, you have memories and knowledge of what makes this person a positive force not only in your life but in the lives of others. When it comes to back pain and communication, remember that you have a reservoir of love, family connections, and friendship that you can tap into that shows this person is a lot more than their pain.
Tip 3—Understanding The Whole Person
When you live in chronic pain, especially if you have had an active life, it’s hard to accept the limitations that such pain has on your daily activities. You can’t do the things that you used to do with such ease. You can become obsessed with all the things that you can’t do, and become angry with yourself. So, having made the decision to help the back pain sufferer feel more whole, you are going to have to address the issue of their self-doubt.
Remember that you have in you, someone who knows the positive qualities of that person. You can give a boost of self- confidence. If nothing else, you can create a positive atmosphere that will make the person feel better about themselves.
Tip 4—Help The Person Clarify Who They Are
Once dialogue has progressed to the point that the back pain sufferer begins to have less self- doubt, it becomes a lot easier for them to think that they can re-engage themselves in daily activities that make them happy. Now instead of just talking about pain, topics are expanded to include their views on such things as politics, sports, news, the job market, and entertainment. Morning becomes less about “I am in a lot of pain”, and more about “ Did you see the match that Serena Williams played?”
You smile because the back pain sufferer sees that their life is about a lot more than pain.
You should never, as stated earlier, minimize what a person in daily pain is going through. The struggle to get back to a “normal life” can be frustrating. All the same, through an honest and consistent effort on your part, you can help that person realize that he or she still has much to offer.
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