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Managing activity levels with chronic pain

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Completing everyday tasks when you are suffering with chronic pain can become a daily battle. Many people cope with this in different ways. Some people try to do as much as possible and fight through their pain, others have peaks of good and bad days where they will try and do as much as possible on good days and rest on bad days, and some people cease such activities all together in the fear that these activities will make their pain worse.

It is useful to keep a diary of your pain, so you can make a connection between what activities make your pain worse and what you have easily been able to achieve.

A balanced approach to undertaking activities is recommended in order to avoid becoming overly fatigued by daily activities and make your pain worse, causing you to stop doing any of the activities.

A balanced approach can be achieved by:

  • Fully planning your activities and how long they are going to take you. This can help you to gradually build up what you can do in a controlled manner.
  • Making sure your goals of what you want to complete are realistic and you can measure your progress in undertaking them.
  • Prioritising the activities you wish to carry out so that the things more important to you are completed first. This will mean if you cannot complete all of the tasks, the more important ones have already been completed.
  • Trying to do moderate exercise as this will keep you fit, take your mind away from your pain and help you to feel better.

Make sure that you pace yourself with all activities and space them well to avoid becoming overwhelmed with them and making your pain worse. This again will help you to build up your activity levels and a number of tasks you can undertake.

Pacing techniques help to break the pattern of good and bad days and gradually increase your activity levels. Any activities can be paced throughout the day. This may mean a change in your routine, but as these activities build you should be able to see an improvement in the amount you can manage with your condition.

Another way of dealing with activities is to space them by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Breaking activities down and resting in between each chunk will help you to see how you are coping with the activity and whether you can continue with it without making your pain worse.

These are just a few ways you can improve your activity levels and help manage your days when living with chronic pain.

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