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What is Pacing? Pacing is gradually increasing what you can do in small steps-if
you do too much then your pain will increase and you may have a bad day, so increase
your activity slowly!
Pacing for pain, when used correctly means that you can enjoy activities without
significant increase in pain levels or reductions in frequency and intensity of recovery
But I Pace already! You may well pace already, but it may need some fine tuning and
a different focus on how you approach activity. Often people try to approach activity
in the same way that they used to; and also to have the same expectations of themselves,
forgetting that their abilities will have been affected both physically and psychologically
by the “boom and bust” cycle of activity.
Pacing For Pain- The golden rules.
Break before you Ache
Breathe and Relax
Break before you Ache If you are diagnosed with a chronic pain condition, your pain
may be with you all the time. Remember to Break before you Ache. More often than
not, people wait for their pain to tell them they need a break. This ”golden rule”
of pacing for pain is about changing when you take a break, instead of breaking when
your pain stops you from continuing, try breaking (have a rest) before your pain
increases. For example, If you know standing in the kitchen for 15 minutes will increase
your pain, have a sit down after 10 minutes, or if mowing the lawn will increase
your pain, then mow a quarter of the lawn , take a break and then do another quarter.
Stretch Use the stretches as advised by physiotherapy before, during and after activity.
These simple exercises will prepare your body for activity while you are reconditioning
Breath and Relax Using breathing and relaxation helps you be more aware of your
levels of tension. Remember a tense muscle is usually a painful muscle. We want to
keep the levels of muscle tension to a minimum during activity. Tension is necessary
to carry out activities, but excess tension caused by stress, pain or anxiety needs
to be managed. PMR (Progressive muscle relaxation) is a good method to help you become
aware of increased tension within your body. (see relaxation page coming soon)
Relaxation also helps us manage the anxieties and fears we have around activities
that we have avoided because they have caused increased pain in the past.
Change position By regularly changing position (moving around) it will alleviate
pressure and demand on the same muscle groups for a long time. This is another “golden
rule” which is closely related to the “break before you ache” rule, by changing position
before the pain increases.
Planning Planning is essential especially when you are first starting out with
Pacing for Pain. It is very easy to slip back to your old ways (before pain hit you!)
and then feel your pacing has been unsuccessful , so take some time to plan your