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Being a Caregiver for Someone with Chronic Pain

It takes strength, patience, and energy to support a person living with pain. It feels hard because it is hard. Your relationship may feel tense, you may not know what they expect, and you may feel overwhelmed. You may feel frustrated with a lack of formal and informal support and may fear it’s more than you can handle. However, you are not alone. These support tools and strategies may help you.

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Caregiving While Living with Pain

Chronic pain can be overwhelming. Caring for someone else while you are in pain adds an extra layer of complexity. Managing care duties while living with pain can be difficult for several reasons including fatigue, managing multiple medical appointments, physical limitations, and stress. Caregivers living with invisible pain may also find it challenging to manage expectations that their loved ones may have of them.

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Communication with Family and Friends

When living with a chronic illness, you may have less capacity for stress and your emotions may rise to the surface quickly. It can be particularly stressful when your family and friends have expectations that are not in line with your abilities, energy levels and/or tolerance. The following strategies can help you navigate the relationships in your life.

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Grief and Loss

Grief is a natural response to loss and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Often the pain of loss can be as difficult as the chronic pain, and this can be overwhelming at times. Everyone reacts to grief and loss differently. The experience can involve difficult emotions and impact how you feel and interact with yourself and those around you.

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Managing chronic pain is difficult at the best of times so during the holidays it is important to manage your expectations. What we have done in the past may change over time. If you spend a lot of time with family, friends, or other groups during the holidays, discuss your holiday priorities with them so they’re aware of your limitations and needs for help.

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Pain, Sex and Intimacy

Sex and physical intimacy should be a source of joy and pleasure, but can become difficult or scary if one partner is worried they’ll hurt the other or cause a pain flare-up. This fact sheet shares some ways to support intimacy while living with pain.

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Social Connections

Social support means having connections with people in your life who you can turn to during challenging times. Having a good social support system can help you cope better with stress, enhance quality of life and find a sense of belonging.

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Youth Who Live with Pain

If you are a youth who lives with pain, you may feel unsure of where or who to turn to for help. Your experience with pain can have physical, psychological, and financial effects. Here are some things you can do and resources you can explore.

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