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Introduction

Common effects of chronic pain include: depression, loss of sleep, loss of self-worth, loss of employment and how the sufferer is perceived by their family and peers.  Chronic pain can also lead to social isolation, role tension, reduced sexual activity and feelings of anger, anxiety, resentment, and in some cases, suicide.  Living with chronic pain can place a strain on relationships with partners, children, family, and friends.

Research suggests that positive relationships with family and friends can help pain suffers cope with their pain.  In one study, patients who reported having non-supportive families tended to have higher levels of work-related injuries and reliance on medication, reported having more pain sites, and used more pain descriptors in describing their pain.  Research also suggests that the extent to which chronic pain negatively affects the chronic pain sufferer's respective partner and other family members was dependent to some extent on how effective the family was in coping with a relative with chronic pain.

The focus of Relationships Australia’s June online survey was to find out whether visitors to our website were affected by chronic pain, their attitudes to chronic pain and the effect of chronic pain on their relationships.