Are you feeding your pain patterns?

Tips to reduce the impact of chronic pain on movement

July 7, 2023

Tips to reduce the impact of chronic pain on movement

July 7, 2023

Living with chronic pain can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. It affects not only our physical well-being but also our mental health and overall quality of life. And if we are not diligent, our pain can be exacerbated by poor management of both physical and emotional factors.

Therefore, when faced with persistent pain, it’s essential to adopt strategies that help us manage and reduce its impact on our daily activities. Let’s explore four tips to minimise the impact of chronic pain on your ability to move and engage in activities you enjoy.

Keep Active


Contrary to what might seem intuitive, staying physically active is crucial for managing chronic pain. Regular exercise helps improve strength, flexibility, and endurance, which can alleviate pain symptoms. Exercise also triggers a release of endorphins, which help to relieve pain, reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Engaging in low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or cycling is a good place to start, as they provide gentle movement without placing excessive strain on the body. Patience is key while slowly building movements into your life again. Not only do you need to allow time for the physical body to adjust but also time for your brain to understand that certain movements are, in fact, safe. Keeping the activity light and consistent while allowing for adequate recovery can be beneficial when reintroducing movements. Book in a session with a healthcare professional to develop a personalised exercise plan suitable for you.

Focus on Mental Health


The mind and body are intricately connected, and this connection becomes evident when we consider the experience of pain. Negative emotions, such as stress, anxiety, and depression, can increase pain sensitivity and intensity. This is because the brain processes pain signals differently when influenced by emotional distress. Furthermore, chronic pain can lead to psychological symptoms, including depression and anxiety, creating a feedback loop that continues the pain experience. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritise mental health alongside physical strategies to put a stop to this negative feedback loop.

Introduce stress-reducing techniques like box breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm the mind and relax the body. And aim to include enjoyable, pain free activities into your week, when possible, to boost happiness and reduce the focus on pain. Consider seeking therapy or counselling to help support your mental health while dealing with chronic pain.

Develop a Supportive Community


Surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends, or support groups who understand your pain and can provide emotional support. Sharing your experiences and concerns with others who can relate can be immensely beneficial in alleviating feelings of isolation and promoting a sense of belonging. Join an exercise group or recruit a workout buddy to make movement fun and take the focus. away from pain. Both distraction and human connection are great tools to reduce pain.

Work on Positive Pain Patterns


The way we perceive and talk about pain can significantly influence our experience. Embracing positive pain messaging involves shifting our mindset and recognising pain as a signal rather than a limitation. Educate yourself about your condition and how pain works in the body.

Understand that pain does not always equate to damage and that it can be influenced by various factors, including emotions, stress, and past experiences. Observe your thoughts around pain and actively shift the way you speak to yourself. Focus on empowerment, resilience, possibilities for improvement and positive affirmation.

Dealing with chronic pain requires a well-rounded approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition. By keeping active, maintaining mental health, fostering a supportive community, and working on positive pain messaging, you can reduce the impact of pain in your daily life. Be patient and keep persisting. And make sure to find quality healthcare professionals who can give you personalised advice and support. You’ve got this!

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