Quick survey: What's the most helpful thing that has ever been said to you?

By Dr GaryCA Latest Activity November 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm Views 1,638 Replies 12 Likes 6

Dr Gary


There is a lot of ignorance around chronic pain, right? It seems like we are often discussing the unhelpful, insensitive and downright nasty things that come out of the mouths of the people in our lives. Unfortunately, family members and healthcare providers are all too often not so in touch, to say the least.

So… I am wondering… what is the most helpful thing that has ever been said to you? Words of kindness? Advice? Tough love?

What words of support are you hearing from the people in your corner of the world?

Any inspiration to share?

  • Report Report as inappropriate
  • Share
    Email Email
    Print Print Twitter Twitter
    Facebook Facebook

Replies (12 replies)

Add your reply Reply Down
  • PandorasPandemonium
    PandorasPandemonium January 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm   

    A couple of years ago I went into a convience store and I was wearing a Fibromyalgia awareness shirt.

    A teenage girl was at the cash register, and suddenly she stopped ringing up my purchases, leaned over the counter, and asked me if I was alright. I was surprised and told her "yes, thank you", and asked her why she asked. She told me that she noticed my shirt and felt bad that I must go through so much. I asked her if she knew someone who had Fibromyalgia, and she said that she did not.

    She touched my heart in such a big way, that I left the store with tears in my eyes. I had never seen that girl before that day, or since. Maybe she was an angel sent to assure me that someone really does care, understand and is listening. O : )

  • Rev. Rip
    Rev. Rip January 23, 2013 at 12:54 am   

    Hi, I sprained my ankle Labor Day 2006. It did not heal so pc sent me 2 ortho. He looked at xray and foot then said," Don't let anyone tell u that it is all in ur head. Because IT IS all in ur head. You have a very rare neurological disorder which has no cure." I thought that what he said was the funniest thing and it has helped me over the yrs when people have told me that my RSD/CRPS is all in my head.
    He sent me 2 a foot specialist who knew about CRPS. This dr worked w me 4 a yr. He said the starngest thing. Ur belly will never go away. What did that have 2 do w my foot I thought. Anyway when pain got 2 bad after trying sympathetic nerve blocks etc. he sent me to a fantastic anethesiologist/pain mangement dr who believes in using narcotics well monitored. I am now on highest dose of everything he can offer. Vicodin,valium,fentynal patch, zanex 4 severe muscle spasms…Oh and the foot doc told me after trying 2 work 4 one yr 2 stop or I would b crippled 4 life. So at age 55 I was out of the workforce. Three yrs ago my grown kids tried 2 do an intervention. They said I was a prescription drug addict,hypochodriac and mentally ill. Of course I was crushed and as u know emotions set off a flare up. I told them time would tell and it did. I now have Sjogrens, Addison's just 2 name a few more rare autoimmune/neuro stuff. Three out of 4 now believe me. So hang in there 4 after all…IT IS ALL IN UR HEAD..LOL

  • Darla - 14953
    Darla - 14953 December 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm   

    The most helpful thing a doctor said to me was: you have too many specialists to not know what is going on…well don't worry I will stay with you until we figure out what's going on. He said this when I was fainiting all the time with no warnings…what i have is neurocardiogenic syncope…and I will wait to see him…once I waited four hours…but I love that he was willing to stick with me and did not blame it on my head…which actually it is…my brain and heart don't communicate so at times my blood pressure drops too low and I faint…we solved it by having a pacemaker put in…anyway…my doctor will stay with me forever because he cared enogh to stick it out with me…

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 27, 2011 at 8:27 pm   

    Hi Darla,

    This doctor definitely sounds like a keeper. All too often, I hear about doctors who don't want to really stick it out with their patients, who either don't know how to help the pain and don't want to try any more, or just don't feel it is a good use of their time. The patient ends up being made to feel as if the doctor doesn't trust them or, as you said, assumes the pain is "all in their head."

    Thanks for sharing this. Glad to hear from you!


  • Loves2smile
    Loves2smile December 21, 2011 at 2:35 am   

    I mentioned via text one night to someone who doesn't know my circumstances other than I have RA and whom I am not sure understands how bad it can really be other than what I say I am going through. He seemed to be listening. Later the conversation turned to his military career and that he had broken his back years ago, and how he still has pain. I thought to myself "That has to be worse!"

    You see, my brother who when he was 18yrs old, broke his neck, and I was only 3yrs old. I still remember alot of his recovery from the traction bed at the hospital that turned him upside down, to the months and months of him stuck in a bed downstairs in our living room. I think its not so much that I believe any cause of pain is worse than another, more like it scares me to think of a broken neck or broken back. The fear is probably more fear of moving and doing more damage than it really is the pain.

    Anyway, back to my friend… I immediately appologized for having complained about my problems and his reply was similar to what I have always told people my entire life. He said it was ok. That each person experiences pain differently. He made me happy to know that someone could be so understanding, and nonjudgemental :)

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm   

    Hi Loves2smile!

    Thanks a lot for sharing your story.

    I agree that no one who doesn't have RA can really understand what it is like. I am sure that there is a special connection between two people who both know what it is like to really suffer, as you learned.

    But I don't think you have to apologize for sharing about your pain. Your problems are your problems. I don't think you have less reason to share your experiences when the person you are talking to may be suffering more. So I agree with your friend, who does sound like a really understanding person, as do you.

    And you certainly have a lot of sympathetic listeners right here.

    Take care!


  • Lori Byrnes
    Lori Byrnes December 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm   

    The most helpful thing that was ever said to me was by my pain management doctor after my last round of MRI's and CT myelogram in August. I went in to his office very depressed over the bad results, and he gave me a big hug and stated "don't worry, there are still things we can do to help". The fact that he was so willing to work with me, plus his wonderful bedside manner, have made him my favorite doctor in the last 12 years.

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm   

    Hey Lori,

    That is quite a bedside manner your doctor has. That was a really sensitive way to work with a patient. In a perfect world, all physicians woulld fee that it was part of their job to make an emotional connection with their patients.

    Thanks for sharing this!


  • Reruho
    Reruho December 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm   

    As strange as it will sound, the words "Just google it." First it was an anesthesiologist when I was asking a drug reaction and thenby the surgeon that diagnosed my RSD/CRPS. It was the most useful and has lead me to finding the answers for my questions.

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm   

    Hey Reta,

    Great advice. This was a doctor who was not only unafraid of educated patients but also wanted to help empower you. He may also have figured out that you would take him seriously and take action on this.

    Hope you are doing well!


  • Jeannie Holmes
    Jeannie Holmes December 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm   

    I had a doctor tell me to keep moving or I'd be a cripled up old lady. I was told that when I was in my 20's. I have never forgot it and I always try to remember it when I'd rather just lay down!

  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA December 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm   

    HI Jeannie!

    Great to hear from you on this. It sounds like your doctor gave you some tough love. He/she must have sensed that you are a determined person and would respond to this.

    Thanks for sharing this!