How to Help Someone in Pain

How to Help Someone in Pain

Chances are you know someone who deals with chronic pain. You may want to help but aren’t sure how to go about it or if you can even help. Sometimes just a “Let me know what I can do” just isn’t enough.

If you have a loved one, friend or family member who is affected by chronic pain, we will go over a few things that you can do to give them a hand.

Support Dietary Choices

As a part of dealing with pain, some people avoid certain types of food that makes their pain worse. For example, a person with Rheumatoid arthritis will typically avoid dairy, as it tends to make inflammation worse.  What you can do to help is simple. Suggest restaurants, take-out or at home meals that the both of you can enjoy without the type of food that affects this individual. You may learn new things about yourself in the process.

Slow Down

Walking at your own personal pace is just habit. We may not notice ourselves walking at a slower pace than others, but when you’re in pain you do. Individuals who deal with chronic knee pain or back pain sometimes have difficulty walking at a normal pace or at the same speed as others in a group activity. Try helping by providing support for them and go at their pace, provide a shoulder to lean on when they can’t walk on their own. Take plenty of breaks and assist with stair climbing and opening/closing heavy doors.

Don’t ask, just help

A lot of times people are hesitant to ask for help. It’s actually more helpful to take it upon yourself to lend a hand. Actions do speak louder than words so coming over and feeding a pet or vacuuming for one for your friends or family members will go long a way for someone in pain. You essentially took that worry off their plate.

A Meal

Dropping off dinner for a friend or loved one is a great way to make sure he or she has a relaxing evening. Eating healthy food instead of ordering takeout, fast food or struggling over jars. So, next time when you pop into the grocery store for a few things maybe ask if your neighbor needs a loaf of bread or a prepared meal.

Help with Kids

Any parent can tell you that caring for children can be exhausting, even if you’re in perfect health. Just think of how challenging it is for people with chronic back pain. Offering to chaperon a trip to a museum with their kids while he/she gets a few hours to rest can go a long way.

Give a lift

Offering someone in pain a ride can be a great help. For a lot of people their pain is at its most intense when walking. So a ride will be greatly appreciated.

Lend a hand


When a person is having trouble with their hands or fingers, any sort of help with writing or typing is major. Offering to spend an afternoon typing up emails for a coworker recovering from a procedure is a great way to lend a hand. Another example is breaking the seal on all jars and bottles, so that is it easier for them to open later on without difficulty.

Be a Gym Buddy

If a loved one with chronic pain is up for some exercise, you should try to accompany them to a gentle yoga class or get a gift certificate to a similar easy work out. It can help really change a person’s whole mindset. Possibly providing some serenity.

Caring for others that are in pain is not always an easy task. It can be difficult to watch someone in pain as well as difficult for them to accept your help.  Try to remember to offer specific help and allow loved ones to make the choices. Use these helpful suggestions to get yourself started.

Dr. Dumitru is a certified pain management specialist. To learn more about Dr. Dumitru, or to schedule an appointment call (713) 461-8555

About the author...

Adrian C. Dumitru, M.D., began his 27-year journey toward mastering the complexities of pain management by becoming an anesthesiologist. In pain management, a field where everyone from family therapists to general practitioners often participate, Dr. Dumitru saw the need for a physician with his particular expertise to oversee a multi-disciplinary approach.

View All By Dr. Adrian Dumitru

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