If you suffer from chronic back pain, you likely need to spend more time at home than most people. This isn’t because you’re lazy or a recluse—you simply need time to rest and recover. But due to this time spent at home, you may feel isolated from friends and family members.
Social isolation from chronic back pain can lead to depression.
See Depression Can Lead to Chronic Back Pain
To aid you in your chronic pain journey, here are 3 tips for coping with the loneliness associated with chronic back pain:
1. Join a walking group
Low-impact aerobic exercise is part of most chronic pain treatment plans. So if you already need to be exercising, why not join in with others who are doing the same thing?
You can likely find a walking group in your area by way of a quick internet search, and you can also try contacting a local senior center or park district. In addition to the new friends you are likely to meet, you may also find relief from your back pain. This is because walking both spurs the release of pain-fighting endorphins and encourages the flow of healing oxygen and nutrients.
Don’t sweat it if you are not able to keep up with the rest of your walking group at first. Like anything worth doing, it can take time to build up your walking endurance. So don’t over-exert yourself—instead gradually increase your walking time and distance.
2. Take advantage of the Spine-health forums
The forums on the Spine-health website are very popular, and many people use them as a place to share tips for coping with their various ailments. But our forums are also a great place to share your emotional struggles with chronic back pain, and to find support and encouragement if you are feeling lonely.
So if you are feeling lonely, take a few minutes to share your story with our online community. You are likely to find many sympathetic ears—as quite a few of our forum members share a similar story to yours.
3. Open up your home
If your chronic back pain keeps you from going out on a regular basis, why not invite others in? Here are some ideas for events you can host at your home:
- Book club
- Board game night
- Make-your-own pizza night
- Movie and popcorn night
You may want to invite a friend to come ahead of time to help with any set-up that is needed. Additionally, it is also a good idea to let your guests know in advance what time you plan to end the party—this will help prevent you from over-exerting yourself.
Of course, you don’t want to make your pain worse by hosting an event every night of the week. But start with a single, simple event and you might be surprised by how many people are excited to show up.
If your feelings of loneliness continue to persist, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a mental health professional. She or he can assess whether you are suffering from depression—and provide additional coping strategies for addressing your loneliness.