You can’t see chronic pain. When someone is living with pain every day of their lives, they often have nothing to show to others as “evidence” of their pain. This can lead to people not fully understanding what’s going on and saying some insensitive things.
6 Things You Don’t Need To Hear When You’re In Pain And Why
- “You’re looking well.” Otherwise known as “usually, you look like crap, is this nonsense over now?” No, it’s not, even though we’d like it to be.
- “I wish I could rest like you.” Well, in truth, we wish you could take our pain. We’d happily swap then. You can “take it easy” and we’ll live without agony. What? You don’t want to swap now?
- “I’ve had a really bad headache, so I know exactly how you feel?” No, you really don’t. We know you mean well but a headache is a day of pain not months of it.
- “You just need to exercise more.” This really riles us up. Yes, exercise can help with chronic pain but sometimes it just hurts too much to exercise.
- “It’s all in your head.” Even if it is, how does that help? Pain is real no matter where it exists in the body.
- “There’s a cure for that.” You’re not a physician. If you are, don’t tell us, write a prescription. Otherwise, seriously, we’re not faking our pain and we’ve tried everything to get rid of it. Living with chronic pain is exhausting.
There are plenty of other things that can hurt the feelings of someone in chronic pain, don’t take this as an exhaustive list of offensive statements.
However, if you want to help someone in pain, try this instead:
“I am sorry that you are hurting. Can you tell me if there’s anything I can do or what you need to minimize your discomfort, please?”
Easy, isn’t it?