A very kind anonymous and presumed injured worker “M” shared the following useful tips for dealing with people in pain. Not only are those tips true, but we take our hat off to the anonymous person who managed to put them in to words, not an easy thing to do when it comes to understanding and writing about pain, whether acute or chronic.

Perhaps pass it on to your spouse, family member(s), friend(s), colleagues, your boss (if you are still working or on a return to work plan), and don’t forget your ‘rehabber’ and case manager(s)!

And remember that many of our readers and contributors suffer from severe pain, and may now and then even ‘misinterpret’ a comment here and there on this site, or forget an article or an answered question etc…again, blame it on their pain

Pain is a sucker


  1. People with chronic pain seem unreliable (we can’t count on ourselves). When feeling better we promise things (and mean it); when in serious pain, we may not even show up.
  2. An action or situation may result in pain several hours later, or even the next day. Delayed pain is confusing to people who have never experienced it.
  3. Pain can inhibit listening and other communication skills. It’s like having someone shouting at you, or trying to talk with a fire alarm going off in the room. The effect of pain on the mind can seem like attention deficit disorder. So you may have to repeat a request, or write things down for a person with chronic pain. Don’t take it personally, or think that they are stupid.
  4. The senses can overload while in pain. For example, noises that wouldn’t normally bother you, seem too much.
  5. Patience may seem short. We can’t wait in a long line; can’t wait for a long drawn out conversation.
  6. Don’t always ask “how are you” unless you are genuinely prepared to listen it just points attention inward.
  7. Pain can sometimes trigger psychological disabilities (usually very temporary). When in pain, a small task, like hanging out the laundry, can seem like a huge wall, too high to climb over. An hour later the same job may be quite OK. It is sane to be depressed occasionally when you hurt.
  8. Pain can come on fairly quickly and unexpectedly. Pain sometimes abates after a short rest. Chronic pain people appear to arrive and fade unpredictably to others.
  9. Knowing where a refuge is, such as a couch, a bed, or comfortable chair, is as important as knowing where a bathroom is. A visit is much more enjoyable if the chronic pain person knows there is a refuge if needed. A person with chronic pain may not want to go anywhere that has no refuge ( place to sit or lie down).
  10. Small acts of kindness can seem like huge acts of mercy to a person in pain. Your offer of a pillow or a cup of tea can be a really big thing to a person who is feeling temporarily helpless in the face of encroaching pain.
  11. Not all pain is easy to locate or describe. Sometimes there is a body-wide feeling of discomfort, with hard to describe pains in the entire back, or in both legs, but not in one particular spot you can point to. Our vocabulary for pain is very limited, compared to the body’s ability to feel varieties of discomfort.
  12. We may not have a good “reason” for the pain. Medical science is still limited in its understanding of pain. Many people have pain that is not yet classified by doctors as an officially recognized “disease”. That does not reduce the pain, – it only reduces our ability to give it a label, and to have you believe us.

[Author: Unknown]

Feel free to add to the tips!


[Post inserted on behalf on workcovervictim who has too much pain to be coherent today]




  1. Mmmmm explaining pain is interesting .. I was told whilst driving 110 kmh distance to work whilst on a major highway if I felt pain to pull over and rest. Try doing that at 110kmh with trucks and other vehicles flying past or for that matter doing that anywhere , when the pain hits it’s savage and not something that I can exactly deal with negotiating any traffic. But it’s fine to apparently have me carry out a 2 hour trip to work to drive another 4 hours on restricted duties and suffer a 4 hour trip back home because of the pain….. I’d love them to experience it

    • I had to stop driving because of loose of feeling in my leg. It got stuck on the brake, no anti-lock brakes and joy nearly flipped my four wheel drive. My life taken from me as I’m sure many of you feel the same.

  2. If only work cover would understand.

    • They’ll never understand, they don’t want to understand – they just don’t care!

      • I wish they’re reading, I wish their case managers have 24 hours diarrhea with blood so that they can understand people’s suffering!

  3. Thank you so much for the Info. It was very timely as I was looking on the Internet tonight about chronic pain, and came across a clinical trial. It is the Clinical trials connect web. Also Macquarie uni are running one. Hope this helps too.

  4. I personally find “noises” unbearable when in (severe) pain – such as TV, radio, phone ringing, cockatoos screeching. One would think that soothing music would help, hell no, it drives me NUTS. My partner has difficulty understanding this, and I did too, until I read this article. Impatience and ANGER (or rage!) are my other “side-effects” as well as being anti-social (curling up in a quiet dark place), but by then it’s because I am exhausted from the pain. Pain is exhausting, tiring, wears you out + causes (me) sleepless nights (that could go on the list).

    • Hi workcover victim
      perhaps you may post the below as a great deal of injured are suffering financial hardship.

      The Conditions of Release for superannuation are
      2.Preserved amount of super benefits is less than $200
      3.Reaching the age of 65
      4.Decision to start a transition-to-retirement pension (TRIP)
      5.Severe financial hardship
      6.Compassionate grounds
      7.Non-resident leaving Australia permanently
      8.Permanent disability
      9.Temporary incapacity
      11.Decision to take your benefit as lifetime pension or annuity
      12.Cease employment and have certain pre-1999 super benefits

      below is a link which explains if you still encounter problems I would suggest contacting your lawyer and if your lawyer cant help contact a superannuation law specialist.