-- Question: Hi, my name is Cindy Muyano. My husband has chronic pain in his back after a car accident. I want to know: What is the best way as his caregiver to help him when he's in severe pain?
Answer: Hi, Cindy. Being a caregiver is a difficult role, and it's hard to watch a loved one suffer. And there's a certain sense of helplessness that occurs. But, like any problem, you need to stay engaged with the process, strategize, and help your spouse adapt to the situation.
You don't want to be too critical of the patient for their difficulties, you don't want to be overly solicitous of them and do too much for them. You really are trying to strike a balance, like most things in life, and figure out a way to help your spouse or the patient, stay engaged, keep going, solve the problems, and cope in a way that will help them to move forward rather than avoid the situation, catastrophize about how terrible it is and how it might not likely improve, and wind up just wishing in a passive sort of way that things would get better. It's generally better to stay active and to think about active strategies that can improve your function and deal with the problem in the here and now, rather than looking at the future and how bleak it could be.