Dealing with chronic pain is the sort of thing that leaves you feeling very much alone. Although friends and family try to be supportive, unless they’re living with the sort of extreme and seemingly permanent pain that you are, they’ll never fully understand. And the fact that your pain leaves you unable to do any of the things you used to do often means your friends and family move on with their lives while you are stuck in the same place.
As a result of all of those things, people who live with chronic pain often end up without a good support network. And that’s a serious problem for someone who lives with such an emotionally devastating condition. That’s why chronic pain support groups are so vital to effectively managing chronic pain. They provide some of the emotional support you need. And even if you’ve never thought of yourself as the kind of person who would need group therapy, the reality is that you’re probably letting your preconceived idea of what a support group
And even if you’ve never thought of yourself as the kind of person who would need group therapy, the reality is that you’re probably letting your preconceived idea of what a support group is keep you away from what is actually a great method of management for life with chronic pain.
So what are chronic pain support groups, why do you need one, and how can you find one in your area?
How Do Chronic Pain Support Groups Work?
You might think that chronic pain support groups aren’t for you. Or you might be imagining something like AA where people take turns telling deep personal feelings and issues and helping each other with maintaining sobriety. Well, chronic pain support groups are remarkably similar in that they do offer support and a chance to discuss your feelings and issues about your chronic pain.
Basically, they’re just a place where people get together to offer support to each other as they struggle with chronic pain. They provide an environment where you can discuss how your chronic pain makes you feel and share tips about pain management or just a sympathetic ear. And that’s much more important than you might realize.
Why Do You Need A Support Group?
Many conditions that cause chronic pain are not actually fatal. Take, for instance, fibromyalgia. Though fibromyalgia can be intensely painful and makes it difficult to live a normal life, it is not, by itself a terminal disease.
But people with fibromyalgia commit suicide at a much higher rate than the general population. There are a number of reasons that this is true, but the most obvious is that chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia significantly decrease your overall quality of life.
There is the constant pain which obviously anyone would get tired of. But in addition, people with chronic pain conditions often become socially isolated because it is so hard to maintain relationships while dealing with chronic pain. And people with a limited social support network are the most at risk of suicide.
This is why a good support group is so vital. It gives you the support you need to carry on living with chronic pain. And it may literally save your life.
How To Find Chronic Pain Support Groups
If you’ve decided that you would like to find a support group, there are a few things that you can do to find one in your area. You can check out the website of the American Chronic Pain Association, which has a handy tool for finding chronic pain support groups in your area. And here is a similar resource based in the United Kingdom if you live there courtesy of the British Pain Society. Otherwise, it is fairly easy to find chronic pain support groups with just a little bit of internet searching.
Finally, if you absolutely can’t find a chronic pain support group in your area, you always have the option to start your own. Contact one of the above groups for resources and tips about the best way to go about doing so. Just remember that managing a support group is a serious responsibility. But if you really want to help make a difference in the lives of those living with chronic pain, a support group is a great way to do it.
So you tell us, are you interested in trying out chronic pain support groups? Do you already have one? Is it useful to you? What advice would you give someone who is interested in finding a support group themself? Tell us below in the comments.