Support groups can foster resilience for chronic pain patients
Few conditions can be as isolating as chronic pain. Nobody else can see it or feel it – not your friends or family, not even your doctors. Nobody knows what it is like for you living with chronic pain, except, of course, other people who have chronic pain. This is why support groups can be so worthwhile. They can bridge the gap between medical care and your need for emotional support and understanding.
Chronic pain support groups provide a space that brings together people with chronic pain to provide each other mutual support. They are a place for sharing experiences, stories, coping strategies, information about conditions and, at times, advocacy. While family and friends may not understand the full impact of living with a chronic condition, meeting other people living with similar conditions can reduce feelings of isolation and offer hope.
There are many different types of support such as online groups, telephone helplines and face-to-face groups.
These resources may be a good place to start in finding the right support groups for your needs:
- Australian Pain Management Association (APMA) – comprehensive region-based support groups. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Chronic Pain Australia
- Gain (Pelvic Pain support Group)
- Pain Link Helpline – phone: 1300 340 357
- The Australian RSD/CRPS Support Group
A quick Facebook search for chronic pain support will bring up hundreds of hits. Within these groups, you will likely find a good source of support. These groups can be narrowed down by specific pain conditions such as pelvic pain or fibromyalgia.
Things to be aware of before joining a support group:
Support groups are often run by volunteers or people who have had experience with chronic pain. They may not be healthcare professionals or trained counsellors. If you receive advice about treatments or healthcare professionals, check with a healthcare professional you trust, such as your treating physician at Metro Pain Group, before starting on a new treatment regimen.