Chronic pain: it’s an invisible condition with an often devastating impact on a person’s quality of life. It effects nearly every aspect of a person’s day and has been linked to disability, dependence on opioids and alcohol, relationship breakdowns, higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a reduced quality of life overall.
While a chronic pain diagnosis can feel overwhelming, there are things you can do to wrestle back control of your life: such as by kicking the alcohol and cigarettes, and reducing stress, which can all worsen pain; joining a peer support group; and boosting production of your body’s natural feelgood chemical, serotonin, through exercise.
Here at Agility Rehabilitation, we’re big on giving our patients the knowledge and self-confidence to work toward self-management of their pain, with some wonderfully positive outcomes.
Here’s three powerful steps you can take to start putting the power back in your hands.
Reframe your thinking
It’s important to acknowledge that pain is your protector.
Understandably, many people have built up mental barriers driven by fear, leading to negative beliefs about pain. By switching from this way of thinking, whereby you see pain as a sign of damage, to one where you instead recognise pain as your protector, you’ll be more able to work toward the lifestyle changes that may need to be made - such as reducing or ending your alcohol consumption, overcoming your fear of physical activity, or tackling your stress levels (another contributor to pain) head on.
Just like a real-life protector – sometimes it does its job perfectly like Wonder Woman, other times it’s a little over-protective, like a helicopter parent, and can actually be more a hindrance than help! Understanding your pain and what it is trying to protect, can be really helpful in working out if it's helpful or unhelpful. It can be complex, so speak to a professional who understands contempoary pain science if you need assistance.
Regain your power
Our expert Exercise Physiologists are fully equipped with the evidence-based knowledge and tools to help you work toward self-management of your chronic pain.
Our goal will always be to empower you to manage your own pain, and regain control of your life so you can start to enjoy your life again without without fear.
However, you will still need to put in the work when it comes to your recovery. While we can guide and support you, you are still the key to your recovery.
We know it hurts, and we know it’s scary (remember “Reframe your thinking”?), but physical activity is proven to reduce pain and improve function and quality of life for those with chronic pain. Plus, there’s the all-important extra health benefits that come from being active, such as increased strength and mobility.
With correct guidance and supervision, you will quickly learn that much of your pain is related to fear and anxiety. Yes, increased strength and flexibility work to reduce pain levels, but so does improved confidence.
When starting out, it’s a great idea to define a set of goals for yourself. We can help establish goals for you to achieve when it comes to exercise, but what enjoyable activities would you love to be enjoying again?
Please never forget that in the vast majority of chronic pain cases, it is perfectly safe to get moving again. We understand you’ll be scared to move or get involved in activities if they cause you pain. But it is safe. Keeping your activity at a level that sees the pain eases afterwards, so you are able to repeat the activity the following day, will ensure you keep making progress.
And remember that when you are starting to get moving again, flare ups are a possibility. We advise that you remain calm, reaffirm to yourself that pain is your protector, and ease back into your routine as you are able. Our Exercise Physiologists are here as your personal cheer squad: to provide qualified advice, reassurance, encouragement, motivation and a suitable exercise program.
Let’s get started
When it comes to making a recovery from persistent pain there is no ‘one size fits all’ Treatment needs to be tailored to you and your goals. Accredited Exercise Physiologists are suitably qualified and well positioned in the healthcare system to guide and support you on your road to recovery.
We’re primed and ready to help you on your journey. Private patients don’t need a referral, but for most other schemes you will.
Our bespoke treatments are tailored to your personal needs and life goals, because when it comes to recovery from chronic pain, there is no one size fits all.
For more information on how we can help, please give Agility Rehabilitation a call on (08) 6162 8145, or get in touch here