January 2012 
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 II


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 Communicate with Family and Friends

  • Use words, not moans and groans, to communicate needs.
  • Don't be overly critical or complaining.
  • If they offer to help, give them a reasonable and specific suggestion, BUT BE AS INDEPENDENT AS POSSIBLE.
  • Plan enjoyable activities together, give suggestions if activities are limited by your pain. If they avoid you, be the one to reach out to them.
  • Take care of your own emotional well-being.

 Tips to Help Marriage

  • Moaning or sighing can frustrate your spouse.
  • Don't rely too heavily on your spouse-do things yourself when possible. Don't add your responsibilities to theirs.
  • Look at your emotional state-being depressed, angry, reclusive is also stressful to your spouse.
  • Don't take out your frustrations on your spouse.


What to Share With Your Child 

  • Tell them the name of your condition.
  • Tell them the cause, or tell them you don't know the cause.
  • Give basic information about what you expect to happen now and in the future.
  • Explain how your condition affects your moods and ability to participate in activities, and that you are working on this.
  • Let them know that your love and devotion have not changed.
  • Let them know that their school work is a priority despite the family's needs.



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 II
News & Upates
Visit The Pain Center Web Site