According to The National Health Interview Survey, about 25 million American adults report having chronic pain, which was defined for the purpose of the survey as discomfort occurring daily for at least three months. A lot of the ongoing pain people experience is spine related. In fact, most of the population will experience back pain at one time or another. Even if you’re pain free, odds are good you know someone with chronic spine pain. If you do know someone in this situation, the Santa Monica spine surgery experts at The Spine Institute suggest a few things you can do to help him or her.
Learn About the Person’s Condition
People naturally love to give free advice. However, you should avoid the temptation to start saying things like “you should try this” or “maybe if you do this” without understanding the type of chronic spine pain a person is experiencing. Take a moment to get some facts about the person’s condition so you’ll have a better understanding of what he or she is going through, and be careful with unsolicited advice. You can always share something promising you find online, but don’t assume it will be a magic cure.
Be There to Listen
Don’t get in the habit of always trying to find new treatments for your friend or family member to try. While you may have good intentions, it could be frustrating to the person you are trying to help. Oftentimes, an individual living with chronic spine pain just wants someone who will listen, so be empathetic about what the person is going through and listen when he or she wants to vent.
Help with Meal Prep
People with chronic pain often have difficulty reaching or bending to get pots and pans or standing for long periods to slice and dice foods, which often leads to habits like opting for microwave meals or regularly ordering delivery food. A lack of nutrient-rich food can make spine pain worse by increasing inflammation. You can be helpful by:
- Making ready-to-eat meals – Prepare some healthy meals and bring them over to the person. Your friend or family member is sure to appreciate having something he or she can easily heat up.
- Having a cooking party – Set aside special times when you gather friends and family members to share in the meal prep and cooking duties. Aside from being a fun distraction, it’s also a great way to treat the person to a healthy, freshly prepared meal.
Offer to Help with Transportation
Driving can sometimes be painful when managing chronic spine pain, and this may be especially true if your friend or loved one recently had surgery for his or her condition. Be helpful by offering to drive the person to doctors’ appointments or to run errands. The person is also likely to appreciate occasional drives to go to a nearby park or mall just to relax for the day and get out of the house.
Check the Individual’s Wound Site
Following spine surgery, wound care is important. Dressings will need to be changed daily, and the incision area will need to be checked for signs of infection. Changing wound dressings is not always easy to do with mirrors, so offer to take a quick look or lend a hand with properly changing the dressing.
Another way you can be helpful to a friend or loved one with chronic spine pain is by encouraging social interaction. For times when the person is not able to get out, make an effort to visit or call or even help the person make appropriate modifications to some of his or her favorite activities. Being social can help people focus their minds on something other than pain.
If someone you know is living with severe neck or back pain and thinks surgery might be the solution, get in touch with The Spine Institute. We specialize in procedures ranging from dynamic stabilization to kyphoplasty. Santa Monica residents who are seeking alleviation for their chronic pain should call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.