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Can support from friends and loved ones help to ease chronic pain?

ANSWER

Some people lean on others to cope with chronic pain. Others keep their suffering to themselves. Is one way “better” than another?

The short answer is yes. You may feel physically better when you lean on your support network. Here are a few research findings that support this idea:

  • Holding hands helps cut down pain. It lowers your heart rate and causes changes in areas of your brain that process threats and pain.
  • Older adults who feel they don't have much support from friends and loved ones feel more pain after injuries.
  • While pain and depression are common in older adults with arthritis, support from others can improve both conditions.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Using Telehealth to Care for Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Cleveland Clinic: “A Pain Management Physician on Adapting Practices During the Pandemic.”

American Physical Therapy Association: “Telehealth Modalities That PTs and PTAs Can Use During the Public Health Emergency.”

Rheumatologia Clinica : “Topical capsaicin for pain in osteoarthritis.”

Pain Research and Management: Effects of Physical-Agent Pain Relief Modalities for Fibromyalgia Patients,” “Chronic Pain in the Emergency Department.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sleep.”

Sleep Foundation: “Healthy Sleep Tips.”

Journal of Pain : “The Social Regulation of Pain.”

Clinical Journal of Pain: “Social Support and Pain Outcomes After Trauma Exposure Among Older Adults.”

Aging & Mental Health: “ Social Support and Cognitive Functioning as Resources for Elderly Persons with Chronic Arthritis Pain.”

National Center for Health Statistics: “Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults

Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014.”

Medscape: "Are Warnings Against NSAIDS in COVID-19 Warranted?"

Mayo Clinic: "Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on April 27, 2020

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Using Telehealth to Care for Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Cleveland Clinic: “A Pain Management Physician on Adapting Practices During the Pandemic.”

American Physical Therapy Association: “Telehealth Modalities That PTs and PTAs Can Use During the Public Health Emergency.”

Rheumatologia Clinica : “Topical capsaicin for pain in osteoarthritis.”

Pain Research and Management: Effects of Physical-Agent Pain Relief Modalities for Fibromyalgia Patients,” “Chronic Pain in the Emergency Department.”

Arthritis Foundation: “Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sleep.”

Sleep Foundation: “Healthy Sleep Tips.”

Journal of Pain : “The Social Regulation of Pain.”

Clinical Journal of Pain: “Social Support and Pain Outcomes After Trauma Exposure Among Older Adults.”

Aging & Mental Health: “ Social Support and Cognitive Functioning as Resources for Elderly Persons with Chronic Arthritis Pain.”

National Center for Health Statistics: “Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults

Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014.”

Medscape: "Are Warnings Against NSAIDS in COVID-19 Warranted?"

Mayo Clinic: "Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on April 27, 2020

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