Making Time for Friends & Fun

Do you remember the last time you had fun? Friends can help you relax, laugh, and feel happy, even when you’re hurting. And having fun is an essential part of being a teen. Part of getting control of your life with pain is figuring out how to have fun and connect with friends again, even if it’s in a different way than before you had chronic pain.

Communicating with friends

Some of your friends may not realize you’re in pain. Or maybe they do, but they don’t know what to do or say. They may drift away because they feel helpless or because they don’t want to bother you. They may not know that you want them around, but need to turn down their offers to hang out because of your pain.

Telling your friends about your chronic pain might help them understand better.

Choose trusted friends to share your information with – not everyone will understand or stick around. This can be really hard to take. But your good friends will get it. They’ll want to help. Tell them what you can and can’t do – and that this could change at any moment. Tell them what you need. For example:

"I get really bad headaches and when they happen, I can’t text or return calls or see anyone. It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you, it means I’m in a lot of pain and can’t do anything until it’s over. But I’d really like for you to keep checking in, and I’ll get back to you when I can."


"I have to limit what I do when I’m really hurting. Would you be willing to come over and just hang out when this happens?"

Pace yourself

Think about ways you can pace yourself so that you can re-join your friends. Just like you did with movement activities, you can pace your social life to work up to more activity. For example, if your friends are at the mall for the afternoon, try joining them for 20-30 minutes to start and see how it goes. Slowly build your understanding of what activities work for you and how long you can tolerate them.

Friends might not know how important pacing is to your health, and you may feel pressure to push yourself to keep up with them. Making a plan ahead of time can help keep you within your limits and feeling good. If you overdo it and have a setback, that’s OK. Simply pull back a little and try again.

Helpful Resources

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Explained: For teenagers, by teenagers

By: G.R. Lauder and R. Massey.

This book provides clear information for teenagers who develop Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It can be used as a tool to aid the early recognition of CRPS and implement the necessary team approach to management. Medical terms have been explained in a way that can be easily understood.

Conquering your child’s pain: A pediatrician’s guide to reclaiming a normal childhood.

By: By L. K. Zeltzer. Harper Collins. (2005).

Consumer health text offer parents a guide to control chronic pain associated with headaches to fibromyalgia in children. Topics covered include overview of chronic pain, pain quotient in children and how its expressed, and methods of treatment, including complementary medicine.

Explain Pain, 2nd Edition

By: By D. Butler, G. Lorimer Moseley. Noigroup Publications. (2013).

Explain Pain aims to give people in pain the power to challenge pain and to consider new models for viewing what happens to your body and brain during pain. Once they have learnt about the processes involved they can follow a scientific route to recovery.