Persistent Pain Toolkit

Part 1:  Maintain the Gains


Helpful Sleep Tips

  • Bedroom for sleep & sex only
  • Keep the room dark or use an eye mask if needed
  • Establish a Bedtime routine
  • Get up if you can't get to sleep within 15-20min
    • Try reading a book, listen to soft music, meditate, then try again
  • Wake up at the same time every morning
  • Exercise regularly (aerobic exercise shows the most benefit)
  • Turn off screens at least 1 hours before bed (laptop, tv, phones)
  • Keep the room cool (19C/68F)


Part 2: Flare-Up Plan


Managing a Flare-Up

Flare-ups happen from time to time, despite your best efforts to prevent them. Having a plan can help you feel more in control and may even decrease the time it takes to get through this set back.

  • Know the early warning signs and adapt right away. "If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to listen to it scream."
  • Acknowledge the pain. Accept it, but do not attach yourself to the negative feelings around it. Try to avoid using negative self-talk. Instead, remind yourself that this is a set-back and things will improve.
  • Identify your triggers: what you can control (too much or too little activity) versus what you cannot (the weather)
    • Too much activity?
    • Repetitive tasks?
    • Too little activity or too much time in one position?
    • Stress?
  • Coping strategies
    • Heat/Cold compress or baths
    • Change positions frequently (every 20-30 min)
    • Gentle stretching or movement prevents stiffness
      • Try some light stretching, a walk, swim, or yoga
  • Control Breathing: tendency to breathe shallow & quick when in pain, which will increase muscle tension and sense of panic.
    • Practice some slow, deep breathing to help muscles relax and mind to calm
    • Progressive muscle relaxation/meditation
  • Do something you enjoy: paint, listen to music, phone a friend for a chat, do a puzzle, garden This can help distract your mind from the unpleasantness of pain.