If you are living with chronic pain, you might sometimes feel like no one understands what you’re going through. But rest assured, there are people out there going through similar experiences. Here are five reasons to reach out and connect with them.
1. Members of a support group can give you hope.
When you are living in pain, it is sometimes difficult to see better days ahead. Those who have had both dark days and lighter days may be in a position to help you see around the next corner. Members of a support group can also help to validate your feelings. Those who have lived with chronic pain may be less likely to judge you or tell you that your pain is imaginary.
2. Support groups can be knowledge warehouses.
Sometimes, especially if you live in a small town or rural area, you may be the only person you know with your particular condition. This can make you feel even more isolated and it can make it difficult to get information on your condition. Members of a support group for your condition may be able to lead you to specific resources inside and outside of your area. They may also have access to a library of the latest information about your condition.
3. You can take advantage of a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
Research supports the idea that the best care involves an integrated approach. In other words, pain management should not be limited to traditional pharmaceuticals. If you are seeing a traditional doctor already, you might be able to complement that care in a group setting with a qualified guide in pain management techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, guided imagery, and yoga.
4. You may not have to leave your home.
It used to be that in order to join a pain support group, you had to travel to the nearest medical facility. Now, a support group may be as close as your computer. Thanks to the internet, it is now possible to connect with people around the world anytime of the day or night with a condition similar to yours. Just make sure the website is reputable and is either associated with a medical facility or a national organization for your condition.
5. You may be able to give back.
It is possible that if you join a support group you will be able to use your experiences to help others in the group better manage their own pain. This will not only help them, but may help you to understand how far you have come in your own journey.
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Dr. Tracy Davenport is a health writer, advocate and entrepreneur who has been helping individuals live their best life. She is co-author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux. Follow Tracy’s love of smoothies on Twitter.