Many patients seek out a back pain support group to help them cope with their torment at the hands of chronic back pain. Support groups have become far easier to find since the beginning of the internet age. Now, patients from around the world can get together in virtual chat rooms and message boards to share their stories, give and get back pain advice and review treatments and products relating to their symptomatic conditions. We are proud to host one of the largest online patient communities, completely free, here on Cure-Back-Pain.Org.
This essay helps patients to find and utilize support groups, in order to help them manage their chronic pain.
Many support groups are active on the World Wide Web. Some of the groups are run by hospitals or on doctor’s websites, while others are independent communities which have formed as a result of shared individual experiences. Every group has a unique flavor and some patients might have a difficult time discovering a group in which they feel comfortable and “at home”.
While it is not too difficult to explore the web looking for a suitable group, the journey can be hampered by the long registration processes often associated with group membership, as well as the bickering, infighting, spam and lack of focus common to many internet bulletin board communities. These factors really detract from the overall user experience.
Many large hospitals and orthopedic treatment programs run support groups for patients with chronic back pain. These forums can be helpful to some, but are often strictly moderated and the exchange between patients is usually kept to treatment options offered in the facility.
I have attended many of these “patients speak-out nights” at some of the best hospitals in New York City and was often very disappointed by the flavor of the presentation. I could not help but feel as if I was there for a 2 hour commercial promoting the latest technology offered to treat back pain, often surgically, and endorsed exclusively by patients who have undergone that particular treatment.
Whether or not you can find a proper support group to suit your needs is the real question at hand. It is fine to try out a few and see how they fit you and your condition. Try not to get involved in many of the personal rivalries which often dominate online bulletin board forums.
If you are attending an actual face to face group meeting at a local treatment center, look for a location with a nice positive and open minded attitude. After all, the purpose of a support group is to compare notes and examine all the possibilities for pain relief using a variety of therapies. If you feel like you are being force fed some sales pitch for a proposed treatment, feel free to leave early. Don’t worry, I am sure many less informed back pain patients will stick around to await their turn at being exploited.
The bottom line on support groups is to find a community which exists to help each other. If you can locate a good one, it can be an invaluable resource of information and experience. Do not waste your time or effort on a group which does not aid you in some way after trying a session or two.
Two of the best ways to become active here are to join our very busy facebook page and to submit your own story at our acclaimed back pain forum.
Hope to hear from you soon.