Three joker cards lie on a poker table each with a different facial expression

Loving Someone With Chronic Pain

Editor’s Note: This article was originally shared by our sister site,, and was written by Amanda Workman.

This is one of those articles intended for the ones who love those of us in chronic pain more than it is for those of us in chronic pain. We know that it can sometimes be extremely difficult to love and be with someone who is in chronic pain, for many reasons. Unfortunately, we feel the burden of this more than anyone could ever explain to a non-sufferer. This is a large part of why we battle depression in so many cases. Here are some things that can assist someone with loving or being with someone who is in chronic pain.

Learn our tells

Much like poker players, those of us in chronic pain have our own set of tells. These tell signs can vary in so many ways, much like those of a table full of poker players. Tells can be verbal or nonverbal. Some of us change the way we hold our bodies or move in certain ways. Some of us become flush in the face, across our chest, and in our arms. Some of us become edgy over absolutely nothing, for almost any reason at all, and without cause for aggravation. This edginess can come off in pure physical frustrations or verbal assaults on those around us.

My dogs have a tendency to get underneath my feet in an attempt to get me to go sit down and be still when my pain levels get too high. That seems to be their best way to intervene when I am pushing too hard.

For those who pay close enough attention, our eyes can say more than words ever could express. Being able to recognize these tells can help loved ones to recognize the pain levels of the individual in chronic pain and even some of the frustrations that may accompany their pain levels. My husband does his best to notice what he can about my behavior and say maybe I need to stop with the chores for the night, or he will ask me when was the last time that I took some medication for my pain.

To provide space, yet company

There is a fine line between giving an individual in chronic pain space to decompress and giving them enough company to know they are not alone. I am an individual who generally needs that alone time to decompress and to find myself again in everything. Sometimes I simply need to attempt to sleep it off, while other times I need to face the situation for what it is and find my inner peace with it all.

My husband has become pretty talented at knowing when I need some me time and will take to his hobbies of fishing or turning wood to give me the time I need. On other days, I need my husband and my dogs to curl up with me and hold me tight. We could simply nap or watch something on the television, or they could simply cuddle with me while I cry.

Every day can be different. This is determined purely by the intensity of the pain and the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of any pain relief measures.

Working together to manage the impact

We know it is not always easy to love someone who is in chronic pain, especially those of us who are in chronic daily pain. But there are ways to learn to manage living with us and ultimately helping remind us when we need to take it easy and put ourselves first. It definitely takes time and effort on your end, but it will help both parties out in the long run.

This is definitely something that is not solely on you to figure out on your own. Ask the individual in chronic pain for their input on various subjects. They may already know some of these things but feel too nervous to bring it up with you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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