February 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 III


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 family best relate to the family member in pain.


  How to Help the Person in Chronic Pain 

  • Don't constantly ask how your loved one is feeling-particularly when the person is not complaining or focusing on the pain.
  • Encourage the person in pain to do whatever he can to help himself and the family.
  • Avoid taking over all the responsibilities for the family-ask and expect the pain person to help whenever possible.
  • Don't be the go-between for the pain person and the doctor-they should have their own relationship, and the person in pain should be responsible for following through with all treatment plans.
  • Don't cancel your plans to do things just because someone else is in pain. Enjoy the things that you can do. Keep in mind that children often cope the same way their parents do. If your children see you shut down and become reclusive, they may do the same. On the other hand, if they see you enjoying yourself and having fun despite difficulties at home, they will likely respond in kind.
  • Engage in honest and loving communication on a regular basis with both the person in pain and other members of the family who may be affected as well.
  • Ignore or gently correct pain behaviors (moaning, groaning, guarding, bracing and sighing). If needed, point out these behaviors in a loving way and reinforce the use of words if communication is necessary.  


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


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 III
News & Upates
Visit The Pain Center Web Site