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The Difference an Involved Partner Can Make

The Difference an Involved Partner Can Make

This is another article aimed more at the individuals around those of us with chronic pain than the individual themselves. As somebody with chronic migraine, it is so easy for me to see the ways that my spouse could be supportive and helpful with my condition. As far as spouses go, I have seen enough in various support groups that I moderate to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that mine is by far better than the average spouse. Does this mean that I do not ever want to strangle him, absolutely not the case! That would most definitely be a lie, but I can guarantee that he probably would like to strangle me as well at various times, for we are just like any other married couple. Having a partner who is willing to hold onto those vows “of in sickness and health” and learn to become an advocate for their partner can make the biggest difference in the world of the individual with chronic migraine.

Attend doctor appointments

One thing that anybody can understand is the need to be validated. For some individuals living with chronic pain conditions such as chronic migraine, having somebody care enough to be willing to go to the doctor appointments (as many as reasonably possible) helps show them that this person believes in how the condition is affecting their life. For the most part, my husband attends most of my doctor appointments, at least the important appointments for my conditions not necessarily because of a cold.

Dealing with doctor appointment battles

Over the years of seeing some, let us say eccentric doctors, my husband has learned to advocate for me and my health. It may not always be pleasant for him, the doctor, or the doctor’s staff but at times can be extremely necessary. I pretty much have two modes my husband is faced with when doctors or their staff are slacking; my primary mode is I am completely pissed off and you need to listen to me vent and my secondary mode is I give up so you need to fix it. It took him a while to get there but he can basically determine which level I am on by himself and do or say whatever needs to in order to get things lined out. This has varied from me complaining about the Botox office inability to correctly file the Botox claim the first time, which is me just expressing my never ending frustration. On the other hand this has also included a doctor who refused to give up on nerve block injections that were not working after a year of the process and he had to finally tell her to come up with a plan B or we would find a new specialist. While it is important to be able to advocate for yourself, it is also beneficial to have somebody else that can advocate for you as well… sometimes doctors will pay more attention to somebody else that is not the patient when they are saying no this really is an issue.

Caregivers being there

I do not simply mean, sit next to them and say I am here for you honey, although sometimes this could be helpful. After doctor appointments, ask them what they thought about what the doctor had to say and how it made them feel. Inquire about any concerns they may or may not have regarding the new treatment plan. If a doctor is arguing against a treatment plan they feel may work, let the individual with chronic migraine vent it out to you. In some cases, you may be the only person they have who they can vent to about these things and they need to let out instead of holding it inside. Attempt to find ways to help them decompress after an upsetting appointment or painful procedure. My husband knows after a round of a Botox a very big Icee is definitely something I would enjoy. If they are simply frustrated and not overwhelmed by pain, maybe suggest that they try some yoga or mediation or something relaxing they enjoy.

The extra support goes a long way

Some of the suggestions may not seem as much or may seem logical, but would most likely make a world of difference to the individual in your life that is in chronic pain. Having somebody care enough to attend your doctor appointments with you, to help battle the doctor office with you, and then to be there with you afterwards to review everything that was presented during the appointment would make the person trying to live with chronic migraine feel like they mattered and that they were not some sort of extra burden on their significant other.

How is your partner as far as being supportive or not so much? Are there things you think you could/should explain to them to make them understand more/better?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • ddnben
    2 years ago

    My spouse doesn’t really understand (I don’t believe). We have been married a long time and he still seems annoyed when I get them, so I quit telling him unless he finds me on the couch where I fell asleep after the meds kicked in. He has no concept of the pain. I now have Meniere’s as well and he is truly being frustrated with me. I’m glad this forum is available.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    I am so sorry to hear that your spouse is not supportive or at least understanding. Our articles are also available on facebook. You are definitely available to share any of them if you think that the anybody in your life would read them and possibly understand some of what you are going through more. Until somebody in your personal life is more understanding, we are here for you. Sending you lots of love and strength.

  • mike1875
    2 years ago

    My wife and I have been married for 34 years now and I have had migraines my whole life. My earliest memory is a migraine. We married at age 27 and she had never had even a headache and wondered what all the fuss was about. Triptans came out when I was in my thirties and they helped but my migraines were daily so I was sent to pain management and got nerve blocks, opioids and nerve burn operations. This doctor saved my life and asked my wife to join us for the nerve blocks. She nearly fainted when she saw the size of the needle, then where he put it and then how many times and then on both sides. She asked how he knew when he was in far enough and he replied when I hit the spine. She went white. He then told her the clinical side of migraines and the need for support. From there forward she has been much more understanding, although still frustrated by the number of migraines I still get it comes with the knowledge that I am just doing my best to survive. Like any problem in a marriage it needs to be talked about.

  • Amanda Workman moderator author
    2 years ago

    Ugh. Nerve block injections are absolutely horrible thing to go through. It is great that your doctor showed her everything and explained things to her so she could have a better understanding of what you have to deal with when it comes to the migraines. I am sure all spouses can get slightly frustrated when we experience so many painful days, especially when there is not anything they can do to “fix” us. You definitely have to keep doing the best you can to survive and make it through each bad day and enjoy each good day even more. You definitely have to talk about the the different aspects of migraine and how they can affect your marriage. Stay strong and open with one another.
    Amanda Workman

  • LizShelton
    2 years ago

    My partner has dealt with migraines too but his are quite different from mine. Mine are short-lived assuming my meds work properly and I have no aura but I get many episodes a month (ranging anywhere from 7 to 16), sometimes even two separate ones in a single day, and the only thing that helps is triptans. His are infrequent and with aura, stopped with Midrin. If he doesn’t catch his in time and get meds soon, it may last for days, whereas I can go all day without meds and suffer and worsen, but then take my meds and they usually help. There is no “mine are worse” but I do get them much more than he does and so am often drained to the point of exhaustion, dreading the next attack, emotional, bitter, etc. He is mostly understanding but seems a bit detached also, and he calls them “headaches,” which makes me sooooo angry! How can someone who gets migraines so ignorantly refer to them as “headaches”?! He is also not always careful to keep the noise down. He isn’t a bad person and doesn’t lack compassion or empathy, but he is much more resilient and tougher than I am and his treatments work better and his attacks are much fewer, so I suppose he doesn’t realize the true impact mine have on me. He doesn’t TRY to make me feel bad or guilt me for what I cannot do, but he definitely could be a bit more understanding. I guess it could be worse and he could say some of the same stuff my family has said, like “Ugh, you have a migraine AGAIN?!” (as if my pain is more of an inconvenience to them than it is to me) or “Are you sure they’re all migraines? Are you sure some aren’t just headaches?” *face-palming until the end of time*

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