Talking to your friends, family or partner about chronic pain

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Your family, friends and/or partner are likely the most important people in your life. It is important to be able to talk to them about your chronic pain. Some people tell everyone they know about their pain. Other people tell only their closest friends. Some people only tell their parents. Of course, it is up to you who you talk to about your pain and what you choose to share.

Since chronic pain is something that your family, partner or friends can’t fix, no matter how hard they try, it might make them feel powerless and afraid. As a result, your family and partner, in particular, can sometimes become more protective and more involved in your care and life than you would like.

Sometimes you might feel that you need to hide your feelings from your parent(s) or partner because you worry about making them more upset. In addition, you might worry how your friends are going to react, or that you’ll get emotional, when you talk about your pain. This is understandable. But know that the people closest to you need to know how you’re feeling so that they can help you. You might have some close friends with whom you want to share your experience of pain, but you do not need to tell all your friends everything about how you feel.

Over the next couple of pages, we offer some tips to help you share your experience of chronic pain with your:

You can learn how to balance the need to share information with them and the need for privacy and boundaries. You can also learn how to respond to some common questions.

Last updated: May 2nd 2016