How to Do More with Less Pain: Part 1
Most people that live with pain would like to be able to do more. The problem is that doing more usually means that you’ll hurt more too. Wouldn’t it be nice to do more and hurt less? Of course, it would. The key to doing more and hurting less is being flexible, disciplined, and humble. In this list of strategies, you will find all of the necessary ingredients for a more active life with pain.
- Change the Way You Do It: When you were young and seemingly invincible, you did things a certain way. You picked up something heavy without even thinking about proper body mechanics. You put on pants without sitting down. You played hard on the weekends without suffering any consequences. But as you have gotten older, you might have discovered that you cannot do things the way you used to do them without hurting more. Now you have to bend your knees and really think about how to lift something. Now you need to sit down to put pants on. Now you need to rest more on the weekends. Yes, adapting to your changing body means that you need to change the way you do things.
- _Do Something Diffe_rent: So you are not able to snowboard, skateboard, or run anymore; now is the time to think of something different to do. You still have a need for hobbies of enjoyment or outlets for your frustration. Filling that need for joy with activities that you can do without hurting is very important. Instead of snowboarding, you can try snowshoeing because it is a low impact sport. Instead of running, try using a stationary bike for your aerobic workout instead. Anything that you used to be able to do can be replaced by something you can do with less pain.
Being flexible is just one way to help you do more with less pain. This skill promotes adaptation and resiliency. Being flexible is easier if you also have the ability to be curious and are willing to explore new things. In part 2 of this series that will help you do more with less pain, you will learn about how being disciplined and humble can also help you become more active. With all of these strategies, you will be able to enjoy life to the fullest with a better quality of life.
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Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.