The 6 Most Insensitive Things To Say To Someone With Chronic Pain

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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?

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I have been in constant back and hip pain,that can be debilitating. I have been to my doctor and she won’t help me. J can’t see a specialist without her consent. The pain is now to the point its impairing my job, sleep and family life. She also just tells me to take another ibuprofen. If I did that I would be at six a day. Way to much in my mind! What ways is their to get the help I need?

    • Find another doctor! My doctors (yes I see my primary, a pain specialist and a neurologist on a regular basis) have compassion and do all they can to make me comfortable. I have been seeing them for treatment for sixteen years. I have not become an addict. They adjust and change my medicines on a regular basis and as needed.

  2. The problem with chronic pain is the medications you take,sooner or later the medications quit working, or don’t work like they originally did. A
    Most doctors, with the DEA on their backs, are pushing to help their patients, are caused of turning patients into addicts,but people don’t really know what their pain is.
    I would give everything I own for 12 hours of manageable pain (below 6 on a 10 scale.) I am most days at 7-8 on that scale. It is hard to live life like that.
    Where can a person go for HELP. Tell me, please.

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