Living with someone with chronic pain can come with unique challenges. Even if you do not deal with chronic illnesses, having a roommate or spouse who does can require you to think things over and do some hard work.
If someone you live with has chronic pain, read on to see how you can be a great roommate for them and keep the peace in your home.
1. Don’t Try to Fix Their Chronic Pain
Your roommate with chronic pain has probably been suffering from it for a long time. That means that they’ve probably tried a lot of solutions that you might suggest.
Of course, you should always try to be helpful and understanding of their chronic pain. However, you should refrain from giving them any form of medical advice. First and foremost, unsolicited advice is incredibly disrespectful to people who have already tried countless chronic pain solutions. While you may not mean for it to, offering advice could put you on the fast track to souring your relationship with your roommate, friends and family.
Moreover, if your roommate takes your medical advice and experiences any adverse side effects, it can put a significant strain on your relationship. In severe cases, you may even be legally responsible.
So, unless you have lived with chronic pain (specifically the same condition as your roommate), it’s probably best to avoid unsolicited advice. Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways that you can be a supportive roommate or family member.
2. Ask How You Can Help
Regardless of their condition, your roommate is going to have bad pain days. They might not be able to function at their normal level, and they may be unable to move or speak entirely.
If you want to be a supportive roommate, this is the perfect time to make yourself a resource. Your roommate might need assistance getting around your home, getting food and water, or making phone calls. Rather than impose yourself on your roommate while they’re in pain, though, you should have a discussion with them beforehand.
In this conversation, you’ll want to seek clarification on how you can best help them. This is because what you see as the best way to help may not be their biggest point of need. For example, you might see that your roommate can’t get off the couch, so you assume that they need help being moved to their bedroom.
However, that might not be the most helpful action. Your roommate might instead just need to lie there for a while, and the best thing you can do may simply be to keep the noise down so they don’t get overstimulated.
In short, don’t presume to know how to help your roommate. Ask, listen to what they say, and use that information to be as supportive as possible.
3. Listen to Their Needs
Ultimately, there is nothing you can do to fix your roommate’s chronic pain. You do not have a magic wand to wave, and there is no way for you to make their symptoms disappear.
That said, simply being there for them can go a long way in helping them cope with their pain. Let them vent to you on difficult days to help their mental health. Do what you can to ease their pain. But it’s important that you understand that there may be no “getting better” for this roommate.
This is important, because you may be tempted to feel frustrated that your roommate is “always sick.” After all, as caring and giving as you are, you may only be used to helping people recover in the short-term. But long-term, chronic pain does not just go away, and your roommate will need you to understand that and continue to support them.
This is the most important thing you can do when you’re living with someone with chronic pain. As long as you’re ready to listen and be patient, you will be a great resource for your roommate.
Help Your Roommate With Chronic Pain
At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re there for your roommate. Living with someone with chronic pain may not be easy, but it’s important that you help your roommate however you can. Use this information as a resource, and your roommate will be grateful to have the support.
For people with chronic pain, how do you want to be supported?
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