IT’S ALMOST SPRING; HOW’S THE YEAR GOING SO FAR? IF YOU’RE IN PAIN,YOU MAY FIND IT DIFFICULT TO STAY ACTIVE. YET AN IMPORTANT PART OF COPING AND LIVING WITH PAIN IS BEING ABLE TO MOVE AND BE ACTIVE, DESPITE YOUR PAIN. REDUCED ACTIVITY CAN CREATE A VICIOUS CYCLE THAT LEADS TO DECONDITIONING: THE LESS YOU DO, THE WEAKER YOUR MUSCLES WILL BECOME, THE MORE LIKELY YOU WILL FIND ACTIVITY TO BE TIRESOME AND UNPLEASANT, SO YOU WILL DO EVEN LESS, THE WEAKER YOUR MUSCLES WILL BECOME, AND SO ON. THIS DECONDITIONING CYCLE CAN LEAD TO AN INCREASE IN PAIN OVER TIME.

A PACING PLAN

You may wonder where to start. This is where the power of 10% can help. Start safely and slowly by increasing your activity level gradually. Try creating a Pacing Plan in which you increase how much you do by 10% each week. A 10% increase is noticeable but should not feel too difficult. And you can use the power of 10% no matter what your current level of activity is and no matter what activity you would like to increase.

One barrier to increasing activity is that people often do too much at the start. Again, remember the power of 10%. Overexertion may lead to fatigue, fear of injury, or increased pain and decreased motivation.

SOME ACTIVITIES TO TRY:

°   walking or swimming

°  spending more time with family

°  sitting up for longer periods

°  using the computer

°  staying out of bed for longer periods

°  socializing

°  playing with kids

8 STEPS TO CREATING A PACING PLAN

(1) Discuss new changes with your doctor to make sure that it is okay to increase your activity level.

(2) Select an activity.

(3) Determine your Baseline, or how much of the activity is reasonable to start with. For example, if you are able to comfortably walk around for 10 minutes, your baseline would be 10. Selecting your baseline is an important step. If you make your baseline too long, then you may injure yourself. If you make it too short, progress will be slower than it needs to be.

(4) Determine a realistic Endpoint Goal of the activity. You may wish to be able to walk around comfortably for 20 minutes.

(5) Set a Starting Point, which is about 80% of what you find you can do comfortably. So, if you can comfortably walk around for 10 minutes (your Baseline), then your Starting Point would be 8 minutes (0.80 x 10 minutes). If you can easily swim 10 laps, then start with 8 laps. Starting at 80% of baseline will prevent overexertion and help you to feel confident at the outset.

(6) Gradually increase how much you do of that activity by 10% a week, until you reach your goal. So, after walking around comfortably for 8 minutes over 3 to 5 different days, you may increase to about 9 minutes in week 2.

(7) Avoid basing how much you do on how you feel. On “good days” avoid trying to do more than your goal for the day. Also, on “bad days” avoid doing less. That is, on “bad days,” persist in your task if at all possible.

(8) Once you reach your Endpoint Goal, maintain your activity at that level indefinitely or until you feel you would like to increase.

You may think a Pacing Plan sounds complicated. Fortunately, Goalistics (https://pain.goalistics.com) has created a custom Pacing Tool that will automatically create your plan for you. If you have a paid subscription to the Chronic Pain Management Program, you can use the Pacing Tool. The Pacing Tool will create your plan for you, calculating the80% Starting Point and weekly increases. The Tool will automatically schedule your weekly activities on your Goalistics Navigator calendar. {PP}