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How do I best help my wife who suffers from chronic pain?

jamestweedjjamestweed Posts: 1
edited 06/03/2015 - 11:10 PM in Matters of the Heart
This past January, my wife was involved in an incident at work that left her with a concussion, 4 herniated discs in her neck, torn ligament in her hand, and lacerations to her face.

She is a Sgt. at a local correctional facility. Over the past few months she has seen various doctors, had several procedures that were/are designed to correct her injuries and alleviate her pain. There has been minimal if any success.

I find myself trying to "fix it" by any mean I think I can. All of my efforts only seen to upset my wife and and stress to our brand new marriage. I am so fearful that the pain and depression that have set in along with the stress I add will have a detrimental effect on our marriage.

My wife is a "go getter", probably the most hard working person I know. Being laid up is taking its toal on her.

What do I do to give her the best support and make her situation a little bit easier?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 06/04/2015 - 8:31 AM
    Not knowing you ar your wife, it impossible for me to answer with specifics, but maybe a few generalized suggestions.
    There may be others who may come by with suggestions and or more relating to your situation.

    Any of suggestions come from my experience of living with chronic pain and may or may not be useful to you.

    First, it so good you reach out to be of assistance and to have better understanding of your wife's experiences.

    You mentioned depression. Depression often accompanies chronic pain, but can not be accepted as normal.
    Feelings, depression, should be included when your your wife talks with doctor and explains her other symptoms.
    Doctor needs to know all in order to best access and treat her.
    Treatments and medication are so individual. Something may be effective for one, may be ineffective or harmful to another.
    Finding treatments and medications effective for pain relief can be trial and try again. It can be frustrating.

    I was in depression. I went to counseling as I tried to get a handle on what I felt was my body to be betraying me.
    And also, so much of my identity was in my work. I loved my work. I loved to work. I felt useless and with the pain I was feeling hopeless.
    My depression definitely effected the way I related with people. In part, I was irritable and easily angered.

    I had therapy and medication. This does not need to be a forever thing, just to help during this transition with pain and what accompanies it.

    You say you try to "fix it" . I don't know your approach or how she feels about it. That might be good conversation for two of you.
    For me, when friends ask if there's anything I need or that they can do for me, that gives me opportunity to guide them into how to best help me.
    I have lost control over much of my life due to limitations, I know I need assistance from others sometimes.

    For me that meant I also had to realize for myself, what do I need? How can others help to ease the everydayness of life?
    I may feel my physical limitations, but I still in control of my attitude and I remind myself I am best caregiver for me.
    I had to learn to ask for help.

    So maybe instead of anticipating her needs, it may be best to ask her how you can help? Asking what you can do to make this painful time easier for her.

    I would also encourage your wife to look around this site also, to see if relating to others may benefit her.
    To be reminded, she is not alone.

    She could use___search__on this site, upper top of page. She types in her questions or concerns and may be led to past posts, articles, videos that she would find useful.

    Sometimes the info has led me to have other questions, some I research further, some questions I write down for to ask my doc on next visit.

    I wish you and your wife the very best as you navigate through this difficult part of your lives together.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Savage said:
    I wish you and your wife the very best as you navigate through this difficult part of your lives together.
    Same here my friend. I wish you and your wife the best. My wife has MS, and Diabetes. What is most important is, you have to make sure you are well to take care of her. Take care of yourself too.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    "Nobody Should Have To Suffer"
  • BManBBMan Posts: 113
    edited 06/05/2015 - 9:31 AM
    You are quite thoughtful. I'm sorry to hear this has happened so early in your marriage. Pain and depression are never timely. The stress you're feeling is perfectly natural. All of us with spine problems need to take time to rest and adapt, and it sounds like your wife is having difficulty with this. There must be something she does to relax. Maybe she has a favorite show. Maybe she likes sitting outdoors. Maybe there are stressors in her life you can help her avoid.

    Personally, I love it when my wife helps with a heating pad and throw blanket so I can relax on the couch. I like it when she helps with my meds or, if I'm not flared up, takes a walk around the neighborhood with me. These things help a lot when I've already spent so much energy just fighting with pain and anxiety.
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