Family members are key people to provide encouragement, empathy, and compassion for those who deal with chronic back pain. There is a fine line between being helpful and enabling a family member to be completely disabled and neglect their family obligations. Being helpful includes providing psychosocial support in times of need. Chronic back pain should not lead a person to become totally disabled and rely upon family members to perform their personal chores. Even putting on shoes, while painful for some, requires a certain amount of muscle flexibility. If a family member tries to be helpful in assisting a person with back pain with even such common tasks, one runs the risk of depriving the person of exactly the muscle activity that is helpful for their recovery. Teaching patients and their family members about the effective treatments for chronic back pain is important.
Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242