Roger Kasendorf, DO, Says, “Please Don’t Say, ‘It Could Be Worse’”

Published August 3, 2023

For those of you who unfortunately suffer from chronic pain symptoms, day and night without ever getting a break, I feel awful for what you are going through.  Unless one is going through it themselves, they have no idea what it is like, and the toll that it takes on you physically and psychologically.

The natural means of showing sympathy for those without chronic pain is often “it could be worse”.

My opinion is that this is a TERRIBLE thing to say.  You could lose an arm in a terrible accident, then have someone say, “at least you have your other arm”.    You could be paralyzed, but then tell the person, at least you have your speech.  Things can always be worse no matter how you put it.  In my experience, trying to put this positive spin on a difficult situation is not helpful.  The fact is that when you are in chronic pain, it just sucks any way you put it.  It doesn’t have to be relative to something else.

The most sympathetic thing you can tell someone in chronic pain is to show sympathy and stay positive in other ways.  Tell the person that you feel awful for what they are going through, and that you will do your best to help them through it.  After that, follow through with it and do everything you can to help them.  It is important not to marginalize the despair and frustration that they are having.  It is normal to have these feelings.  This is why we are here to help.

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