December 2011 
The Pain Center |  Live More Comfortably  |  eNewsletter Header
We hope this note finds you continuing to do well and living your valued life. The article below, by our Pain Center's psychologists, can help you maximize your ability to function.
Chronic Pain and The Family:
Part I


Chronic pain, fibromyalgia and headaches affect not only the one experiencing it, but the whole family. Our psychologists have put together the following tips to help the one in pain improve family relationships.


How to Improve Family Relationships


  • Don't hold your spouse or other loved ones responsible for your physical comfort. If you need something and can get it yourself, then do so.
  • Try to avoid canceling plans with people-it's disappointing for them and for you. If you can manage the activity, then go ahead and do it.
  • Understand that the less active you are, the more pain you'll have as a result of physical de-conditioning. So remain as active as possible.
  • If you're unable to handle household responsibilities that were once yours, then take on new ones that you can manage in order to lessen the burden on your loved ones.
  • Keep in mind that people don't constantly need to hear exactly how you're feeling. There are many times when "suffering in silence" will be beneficial to you and your family members. If necessary, use words to describe what you're experiencing, not moans, groans, guarding, bracing or sighing (pain behaviors). 
  • Engage in regular, but not incessant, honest and open communication with your family members about what's happening to you and how you're feeling emotionally. Ask them how they're feeling and listen with empathy. Remember that just because you're feeling the physical pain, doesn't mean they're not suffering as well.

1.   "Treating Families of Chronic Pain Patients," by Robert D. Kerns, John D. Otis and Emily A. Wise, in Psychological Approaches to Pain Management, 2nd edition, 2002.


2.   Chronic Pain and the Family, by Julie K. Silver, M.D. 2004.

News & Updates
Listen to the audio clips of Dr. O'Connor discussing the importance of focusing on valued living while in pain and one of our graduate successes (from the WGVU Morning Show with Shelly Irwin).
More than the programs ...
At The Pain Center, all of our doctor's and therapists see patients outside of the programs. If you have a new injury, significant stressor, severe pain flare-up or need to adjust your home exercise program - come back to the team that you trust. We're happy to help.
Have a question about a flare up?
You are still a part of The Pain Center family. If you ever have a question, please give us a call at 616.233.3480 and we'd be happy to answer it.

Nicole DeHaan, PT
Physical Therapist 
The Pain Center at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
In This Issue
Chronic Pain and The Family: Part I
News & Upates
Visit The Pain Center Web Site