For anyone suffering from chronic pain, a little bit of support can go a long way. Unfortunately, for many different reasons, support may be hard to find in your local community. Maybe you are living in a rural setting, and there just aren’t many people, let alone fellow chronic pain sufferers. Maybe you have been dealing with chronic pain for years and feel like you have exhausted your support system. Whatever the reason, it may be time to look for another option: an online pain support group.
What is a pain support group?
There are many positives to online pain support groups. Online groups offer more anonymity and may make you feel more comfortable speaking frankly, especially if you live in a small town and are dealing with a condition you would rather not broadcast locally. For those with mental health challenges, this can be especially attractive.
Online groups also draw members from all over the world and can host larger numbers of people who add to the pool of experience. While it may be difficult to find a fellow chronic pain sufferer in your small community, the numbers don’t lie: approximately 60 million adults are diagnosed with chronic pain annually. There will be people who understand what you are going through.
A final benefit of an online pain support group is that they are truly come-as-you-are, and meetings are on your own time. Whether you join a message board or “attend” virtual, scheduled meetings, no one will know if you are in your pajamas or three-sizes-too-big sweatpants. An added bonus is that it doesn’t matter if you need support at two in the afternoon or three in the morning. You can always find someone to lend a supportive ear at any hour of the day.
Pain Doctor hosts a number of online pain support group options.
On this page, people who are experiencing chronic pain for any reason can post their picture and tell their story. In the process, others who are feeling isolated and withdrawn may be able to find inspiration and support, and family and friends may gain insight into the struggles of their loved ones.
Faces of Pain brings awareness to the very real condition of chronic pain and offers a safe place for sufferers to connect with others. This is a great way to raise awareness of who is suffering. Support and understanding are key to helping a family member or friend cope with chronic pain. Sometimes even family members don’t grasp the full scope of a chronic pain patient’s suffering. Faces of Pain can help them understand.
Pain Doctor maintains an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. While our YouTube channel is mainly informational in nature, Twitter and Facebook make it easy to connect with others who are looking for an online pain support group that is interactive and welcoming.
This is a relatively new offering from Pain Doctor, and we are so pleased to have so many great things to share. Pain-spiration is a way to share positive research, news, and motivation for chronic pain sufferers, their families, friends, and doctors. The board is set up like a Pinterest board with clickable infographics and links to things like holistic remedies for headaches, pain relief exercise tips, and a chronic pain personal bill of rights. Sign up and log in to share your own inspiring ideas!
Finally, come see what over 37,000 people are talking about: Pain Doctor’s online chronic pain support page. If you ever needed to know that you are truly not alone in your struggle as a chronic pain patient, this is the place to find community. Chronic pain caregivers are represented here as well, but this page is mainly for other chronic pain patients to connect with each other.
As always, staying safe online is a high priority when looking for a pain support group. The anonymity of an online group means that people may be more comfortable responding inappropriately or in a way that takes advantage of vulnerable people. All of Pain Doctor’s online support offerings are moderated and maintain a civil and appropriate comment policy so that you can feel safe in your interactions through our platforms. For teens and adolescents, look for online pain support groups that are tailored to their specific needs.
With every positive – getting chronic pain support in your jammies – comes a potential downside, too: online pain support groups mean you never need to leave the house. This could be a negative thing if what you need is to experience more of life outside of your four walls or if chronic pain and depression has you feeling isolated. While online pain support groups can be a lifeline and a source of much-needed support, it is also important to engage with the world around you to stay connected.
Do you have an online pain support group you recommend? Link it up in the comments!
Image by magicatwork via Flickr