Many friends, partners, and family of people with facial pain describe themselves as feeling helpless. It is important to understand that you will not be able to take the pain away, but there are ways you can help- your loved one and yourself- to cope with facial pain. 


Because facial pain makes it difficult for patients to absorb all the medical advice, it is helpful to educate yourself about your loved one’s condition and its treatments. Being informed will also help you join your loved one in advocating for his or her care. Viewing webinars, reading articles, and participating in other educational opportunities are all ways to become a better supporter of your loved one. Pass information on to your loved one, but don’t insist he or she takes a specific action on this information. Consider joining a Caregivers group, such as the FPA friends and family virtual support group, to meet and learn from your peers. 

Helpful actions 

There are practical ways you can help your loved one manage his or her care. Offer to make doctor appointments. Go with your loved one to doctor visits if possible and take notes- it can be difficult to remember accurately what is said during appointments. Think of ways to make basic living simpler; for example, purchase an inexpensive medicine organizer, offer to pick up medication at the pharmacy, or handle phone calls when pain makes it difficult for your loved one to talk.

Help your loved one find things that ease the pain- a soft scarf, a soothing playlist, a meditation podcast. Try not to get frustrated if these items don’t become useful, everyday tools. Encourage your loved one to become involved with projects, causes, or pleasant distractions such as a hobby. Volunteering makes people feel useful, needed, and welcome. It can be very empowering to put the facial pain experience to use by helping others.  Joining a religious, spiritual, or similar group can also be a shared, positive experience between caregiver and patient. 

Take care of you 

One of the most challenging aspects of caregiving is managing the stress and frustration many caregivers experience. Chronic pain, as well as the medications prescribed for it, can cause changes in mood and cognitive abilities. This may be difficult for caregivers, and can make calm communication between caregiver and person with facial pain challenging. After a bout of frustration, it is natural to then be left feeling guilty. The best you can do as a caregiver is to help when and how you can, and to be understanding (towards both your loved one and yourself) when you cannot. Taking care of your own physical and mental health is important to relieve stress and avoid burnout. 

We offer the following suggestions to help you as a caregiver take care of yourself: 

  • Take care of your own physical and mental health needs. You have probably heard this before: You can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Be aware of your stress levels, take breaks, exercise, and talk to a friend. Only you know what works best for you.
  • Ask for help! We all have our limitations, be aware of your strengths and abilities. When people offer to help, accept the offer – caregiving is definitely more than a one-person job. 
  • Be flexible. You will encounter situations where you may have to re-evaluate your needs and priorities. Things you did in the past may have to be looked at in new ways and new strategies developed to help you accomplish your tasks and manage your new responsibilities. 
  • Respite: Take some time off from your responsibilities as a caregiver. Plan time off and make any necessary arrangements in advance for someone to take over your caregiving responsibilities during your time away.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Connect with other caregivers who understand your frustrations and understand what people with facial pain go through. Join an FPA Support Group and Facebook Group. Call an FPA Peer Mentor.


Signup for relevant content in your inbox.


Browse Recent Articles

View or Download the Patient Guide

Learn more about neuropathic facial pain, including how to get a diagnosis, treatments, and more by viewing or downloading our free patient guide.

By filling out the form below, you will receive a free FPA Patient Guide and periodic updates on the management and treatment of facial pain conditions. We do not share this information with any outside sources.

By filling out the form below, you will receive a free FPA Patient Guide and periodic updates on the management and treatment of facial pain conditions. We do not share this information with any outside sources.