Why the Holiday Period Can be Challenging for Some Chronic Pain Patients
“The holidays can be exhausting. Chronic pain doesn’t care that it’s the holidays. It’s supposed to be busy and you’re supposed to have a good time. The pain will still be there and the increase in activities can make it so much worse.” 
As the holiday season rapidly approaches us, we begin to find ourselves winding down and catching up with family or friends. While it can be a wonderful time of festivities for many, this season can be challenging for some patients with chronic pain. Often patients feel pressured to push themselves to the point of exhaustion from the expectations of family or friends or feel overly stressed with holiday preparations. This can result in pain flares and increased fatigue, worsening their suffering.
If you have patients with chronic pain, it is important to be especially considerate during this period and to employ an empathetic approach. You may find the following tips helpful in dealing with patients:
- Encourage them to manage their stress by spacing out activities and setting boundaries for what they are unable to do.
- Remind them the importance of listening to their bodies. Ensure that they are getting adequate rest and not pushing themselves too hard.
- Tell them to be realistic about what they can do and to prioritise the most important tasks to not cause further unnecessary pain. By pacing their activities, they are conserving energy for the things that are important.
If your patients are struggling with feelings of heightened isolation or loneliness, there are online support groups that may help. Being in connection with others who are dealing with the same pain and feelings can help patients feel a sense of community and connection without the physical stress on their bodies.
On the other hand, as practitioners, we must also practice self-care and utilise the upcoming holiday break for some well-deserved rest and to recharge our batteries. Nurture the positive relationships you have with family or friends and schedule some downtime between the busy festivities.
We hope you enjoy this time of the year and wish you happy holidays from the Metro Pain Group.