Chronic pain forms social bonds

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EMPATHY FOR PAIN… Neil MacArther and his partner Elaine Butcher are encouraging locals suffering with pain to get involved with weekly discussion groups at South Shepparton Community House. Photo: Steve Hutcheson.

Empathy can play a big part in the ability of someone going through life dealing with chronic pain. As we age, that pain can be all consuming. While there are a number of pain management resources that give people the skills to deal with ongoing chronic pain, some of those who endure it also need an ongoing avenue to share their difficulties and means of addressing it with others in the same situation.

Neil MacArthur is one such person who, following an industrial accident some years ago, suffers ongoing chronic pain that at times can be all consuming. “While medication solves most of it, I try a number of things to get past it. That might include meditation or transcendental meditation, yet I have found that the best thing I can do is distract myself,” said Neil.

It was the need to be able to talk to others in a similar position to himself that got Neil to raise the idea of a support group through the Shepparton South Community Centre.

“People need to feel that they are not alone,” said Neil. According to Psychology Today people are likely to relate to other people better when they have both endured similar chronic pain.

The process Neil envisages is that people get together and are given the floor for five minutes in turn to talk about their pain and how it affects them and what are their mechanisms for coping.

For people who are interested in joining the discussion, they can contact the South Shepparton Community Centre 5821 6172