In the U.S. alone, more than 50 million adults suffer from chronic pain. While medication and alternative therapies can help with the physical pain, participating in support groups can help with the mental and emotional aspects of these conditions. Support groups have been around for decades, and they have helped many people through difficult times. If you’re considering joining one yourself, you may be wondering how to choose a chronic pain support group. But first, let’s look at the benefits of participating in one.
What are the Benefits of a Chronic Pain Support Group?
When you’re living with chronic pain, something as simple as attending a meeting can be challenging. But there are many advantages to joining a chronic pain support group that make it worth the time and effort to participate.
In fact, studies have found that participating in support groups helps people feel less isolated and improves the perception of their condition.
Interact with Others Who Know What You’re Going Through
When you join a chronic pain support group, you spend time with other people who have gone through similar experiences and know what you’re going through. In addition, it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone in your experience with chronic pain.
Far too often, those who are living with pain feel that others around them don’t understand how difficult it can be to do even the most basic of things. When you’re surrounded by others who are having similar experiences and going through the same thing, it can help reduce feelings of isolation.
Help Others and Make a Difference
Joining a support group is a great way to help others and make a difference in their lives. Chronic pain support groups often become tight-knit communities where everyone trusts one another and feels comfortable sharing thoughts, feelings, or experiences they don’t feel comfortable sharing with their doctors or spouses.
Not only will others provide you with support when you are in need, but you will also have the opportunity to return the favor by supporting others. Making a difference in other members’ lives can be a great reason to join a support group!
Share Experiences and Resources
Support groups become more than just a place to share experiences and lean on one another. It can also become a place to share resources. Maybe some members have found products, tools activities, or services that have helped them in some way.
By sharing these insights, each group member can benefit and potentially find solutions to their problems.
Virtual Options May Be Available
If you have severe chronic pain or difficulty securing transportation, you may find a virtual support group. Although the experience is a little different, you still gain the advantage of sharing, supporting, and listening to others who have similar life experiences.
3 Tips for Choosing a Chronic Pain Support Group
Now that you understand the benefits of a pain support group, you may be wondering how you can find the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Decide Whether You Want In-Person or Virtual Meetings
With advancements in video call technology, many support groups offer virtual meetings. If you’re in severe pain or have difficulty finding reliable transportation, virtual meetings are a great way to enjoy the benefits of support groups.
Other people prefer in-person meetings because they can interact with others on a more personal level. Face-to-face interaction and communication can help amplify the benefits of support groups. Having a designated place to go for meetings and an opportunity to get out of the house can also make the group more effective.
Take the time to consider which type of meetings you prefer or will work with your schedule and needs.
2. Avoid Groups That are Trying to Sell Products or Request Personal Information
A support group should never require you to purchase products or pay membership fees. You may be asked to make a donation to help cover the costs of overhead, but you should not have to buy a product to join a group.
Also, steer clear of groups that promise cures. A support group cannot cure your chronic pain, but it can help you better manage your condition and develop the tools to cope with it.
It’s a good idea to avoid groups that request personal information. The big advantage of a support group is that it offers anonymity. If you feel pressured to provide personal information, you may not feel comfortable being completely open and honest during meetings.
3. Attend Meetings with Different Groups
Try attending meetings with different groups to find the right one for your needs and schedule. Then, find a group that you feel comfortable with and with solid leadership. Confident, informed leaders can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a support group.
Joining a chronic pain support group can help you cope with and manage life with pain. When you meet with others who are living with pain, you feel less isolated and may find solutions that will make your life easier. Use the tips above to find a support group that will meet your standards and expectations.