The Christmas Holidays and Chronic Pain

The Christmas Holidays and Chronic Pain

The holidays are a joyous time for many – but for others, including many who suffer from chronic illness, it can be a difficult time. What the head of the Southern Pain Society calls the “Holiday Blues”  or the “Charlie Brown Christmas” may occur at any holiday or vacation time, but most commonly happens during the December holidays.

We asked one of our contributors, Dr. Geralyn Datz about the difficulty that some people have in the holiday season. She says the sadness and even depression can come on for a variety of reasons, like high physical stress as well as psychological and financial and family tension. Dr. Datz is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in behavioral medicine.

For some pain patients, it can be caused by both the memories of what life was like when you were pain free and/or because, well, the pain just hurts.

What helps manage it?

The answers are not surprising but often for pain patients, they just aren’t easy to do:

  • Rest and Get Enough Sleep
  • Regular Exercise
  • Eat a balanced/healthy diet

Dr. Datz talks about coping…and has some tips on what to do.

  • Surround yourself with supportive people—reconnect with old friends
  • Talk with family about the limitations your pain imposes, “Be honest with yourself and with your family about what you can and cannot do,” she said.
  • If you are religious, “focusing on the spiritual significant of the holidays can also help.”

Dr. Datz leads the Southern Pain Society which was incorporated in 1989 and is a region of the American Pain Society covering the 18 southern states and Puerto Rico.

“Our mission is to serve people with pain by advancing research and treatment and to increase the knowledge and skill of the regional professional community,” she said.

The Christmas holidays aren’t easy for the chronic pain patient.

In our commentary section to this article tells us how you are doing during the holidays and what you do to cope. We’ll take some of the comments and share them in a story on Christmas Day.

Your friends at the National Pain Report wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season, and know that we are thinking about you.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Lisa Thierman

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all at National Pain Report. Thank you for writing articles that mostly go unwritten, from perspectives untold, marginalized or disregarded.


Mary Allen

If you are alone, doing everything yourself normally brings a lot of pain & fatigue. This time of year, the normal household chores become much more difficult & painful.

Julie Shaw

I try to pace myself and I have learned to only plan on realistic activities. When cooking, I spread it out over a few days. It is impossible for me to do it all in one day. I ask for help. This wasn’t easy for me, but I have learned that I have a better experience when I assign different duties to other household members. One important thing I’ve done to cope is cut off relationships that were hurting me which unfortunately included many relatives. The holidays have been so much less stressful in recent years. After all is done, I cope by reflecting on the wonderful things God has given me.

Christine K.

I got enough sleep, for the first time in many years, and it is helping me, today. Thanks for this article.