Living with chronic pain limits our ability to do our daily activities well, if at all. To stay on track and keep pain at manageable levels, it’s important to learn to pace ourselves – it’s better to do a little bit more often, rather than a lot all at once and then suffer for it for days on end.
If there’s a day where you’re feeling good and pain levels are low, you may feel like you can do anything and everything – vacuum, do the washing, run your errands, or do a workout. Remember though, if you push yourself too hard you may end up being out of action for days afterwards, ending up worse off than before, with a backlog of things that need to be done!
Overexertion with chronic pain not only affects us physically but also mentally. You may feel increased levels of depression, frustration and anxiety as a result of feeling ‘defeated’ by the pain. This entire process then creates a cycle of behaviour that is not conducive to good health. It’s important to stop our pride getting in the way of pacing ourselves.
Pacing is a skill that is learned and takes time and patience to develop and maintain. Once it is developed you will be surprised at how much more you actually get done over a period of time. It doesn’t matter if it takes a little longer to complete the task - the fact that you did it is both rewarding and intrinsically motivating to take the next step.
The overall goal of pacing is to find a balance between activity and rest for us to then achieve any goals we have set. Whether it is to sweep the floor, do the ironing or go for a walk - pacing is the key to getting it done.
If you’re living with chronic pain and want personalised advice for managing it, speak to the team at 360 Health + Community. We have an expert team of allied health specialists including chronic disease nurses, exercise physiologists and physiotherapists who can help you manage your pain and get back on track.
Chronic Disease Nurse
360 Health + Community