Family Participation

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Chronic pain affects the whole family, not just the person in pain. Family and friends often feel helpless and frustrated when trying to help someone who has chronic pain. Often, activities of daily life are altered to accommodate the person in pain. The result is additional responsibilities for others. Problems can arise, including financial strain, miscommunication, resentment, confusion and isolation.

During the family programming, participants learn how to support those who have chronic pain, and also techniques important to caring for themselves.

Topics include the difference between acute and chronic pain, elimination of pain behaviors, use of moderation, importance of regular physical exercise, conservative use of pain medications, stress management, relaxation and effective communication. Explained in detail is the benefit of using a neutral response to pain behaviors instead of an overly caretaking or punitive response.

Each PRC program has a family component, and PRC staff strongly encourage family members to participate. A comprehensive program for family members of patients participating in the three-week program is offered every Thursday and Friday.