Developing Your Pain Plan
Now that you have your health-care team and diagnosis in place, it’s time to work with your team to develop a comprehensive pain management plan personalized to your needs. Using the information, tools and techniques you have learned in this toolkit, you can get started on taking control of your pain and your quality of life.
- Use this plan template to help build your plan.
- Use this components document to give you ideas for goals and activities you may want to include in your plan.
Your mind plays an important role in how you feel about pain and how you respond to illness. As you develop your action plan, use these tips to build a sense of personal control by changing how you think about pain.
Keep a positive attitude. Arthritis may limit some of the things you can do, but it doesn’t have to control your life. One way to reduce your pain is to build your life around wellness, not pain or sickness. This means thinking positive thoughts, having a sense of humor and developing a strong support network.
Don’t dwell. How often do you think about your pain? The amount of time you spend thinking about pain has a lot to do with how much discomfort you feel. Try to focus your energies on how to ease the pain.
Think about pain differently. Think of pain as your body’s message to do something different. For example, if your pain is worse after sitting for a period of time, your body may be telling you to get
up and move around.
Shift your focus. One way to take your mind off pain is to focus on something else, like an enjoyable activity. Doing things that make you laugh, listening to your favorite music, talking to your best friend or snuggling with your spouse or child can help your body release feel-good chemicals that will ease your pain.
Change your habits. It’s easy to slip into the habit of taking too much medicine or relying on unhealthy practices, such as drinking alcohol, to escape your pain. Try doing something positive in place of the old habit. Reinforce your behavior change by rewarding yourself when you do something positive, like splurging on a massage.