Implementing Self-Management Techniques

Self-Management fits well with clinical approaches and the sooner you start the better. It's not easy but it is possible. A lot of people make huge improvements in the quality of their life when they thought all was lost.

Implementing Self-Management Techniques

You might be reading this having just been told you have chronic pain, maybe your treatment is not giving you as much relief as you would like or maybe you’ve been told there’s nothing more we can do for you.  Don’t despair there is still a lot that can be done to improve your situation.

CPI’s Self-Management approach is based on a Bio-Psycho-Social model of health, which simply means that people get ill, not just bits of bodies.  We look at the following:

  • Bio- body parts, symptoms, adaptations, medication, side effects, sleep, fatigue
  • Psycho- thoughts and feelings, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, reactions
  • Social- other people, society, the things people say.

Impacts like stress, anxiety, over-doing things and poor sleep often get confused with the condition itself and can make a difficult situation much worse.  

It is important to take control wherever possible through becoming more knowledgeable, improving your understanding of your condition & health while building skills in relaxation, stress management, pacing and challenging negative thinking. In simple terms it is about all the things that you can affect and influence.  It is also about the things that only you can affect

What does improve mean?

Self-management probably won’t cure your pain, but it can help you to improve things significantly.  What counts as ‘improve’ varies from person to person. Some people report that they have fewer flare ups; some say that they feel more in control; some that they have improved their relationships; some that they feel less stress; some that they sleep better some go back to work or stay in it.  How much things improve depends largely on the individual rather than the cause of their pain. 

Obviously everyone wants less pain. Many people report that they can positively manage their health by reducing the things that trigger pain and increase the things that ease it. Many say that they feel better in themselves and have turned the tables on their health so that they are in charge of their life rather than their pain.

Self-management is especially concerned with addressing the well-being (how you feel in yourself) aspects of a situation. This is because the experience of pain is a combination of sensation and reaction- or some might describe it as pain and suffering. If you can change the reaction the suffering component changes significantly. 

We know that pain is stressful and stress makes pain worse, often called wind up.  You could be going from flare up to flare up feeling increasingly stuck and desperate. This may feel like your pain is getting worse, but it might actually be that stress levels are driving the situation. So what started as a response to a difficult situation has now become part of the problem itself i.e. that pain and stress are glued together.   The good news is that stress is something that you can do something about.

Self-Management encourages you to look at all aspects of life and improve whatever you can at the time. For example, learning to relax helps to distract you from pain, feel calmer, think calmer and maybe react differently to the things that others say. This again is all about reducing stress (physical and emotional).

For Full details of our Self-Management meetings click here