What are some ways to stay active with chronic pain?
The fear of increased pain can lead to avoidance and withdrawal. Regular activity is key to increasing your level of daily function, managing your pain, and improving quality of life. Choose an activity that you enjoy. Participating in an activity you truly enjoy will give you the motivation needed to face pain head on. If needed, join a group program, team up with a friend, or have a health professional design a program tailored to your needs. Going outside and spending time in nature is also highly recommended, as it offers many other benefits to your general health and overall well-being.
It takes practice to achieve and maintain the beneficial amount of activity while simultaneously monitoring your pain, being respectful of your current capacities, and gently working to expand them. This is why pacing your activity is critical for pain self-management. This means not overdoing it on good days and continuing to function on days when you do experience more pain. Listen to your body and evaluate your current pain and stress levels to determine whether to go for something slower and more soothing, or more active and exciting. This will help prevent flares and allow you to build up your level of functioning. Also, don’t be discouraged if you have a setback. With experience and practice, you will learn to modify your expectations and activities so you can continue to do things that are meaningful to you. For help on how to get started visit our guide for increasing your activity levels.
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