Graded activity is a way of learning to manage chronic pain or illness by finding your baseline (the amount of activity you can do without exacerbating symptoms) and then gradually extending the difficulty, very slowly over time. The aim is to be able to do the things that matter to you without causing flare ups. Pacing is a strategy for avoiding a boom and bust cycle which you do a lot on good days and then very little on bad days. The idea is to even out your energy use and reserves so you can have a little more predictability. I’ve been practising both strategies for a little while and here is the latest update on how that’s going.
- No problems last week so increasing to 14 minutes from today.
- Using wrist braces and fingerless gloves. Still learning touch typing to reduce neck pain from looking down at the keyboard.
I haven’t been pacing with walking up to now. Just walking until I get tired. I would like to increase my fitness so I’m going to start timing how long I walk and taking rest breaks. I’m starting at 7 minutes which is how long it takes to get to my allotment plot and I can usually do that comfortably.
- I’m still in the phase where my muscles are getting used to the activity and if I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing my posture slumps forward.
- I’m hoeing the ground outside now in a bed that has already been dug over and isn’t needed for planting any time soon. This reduces the temptation to rush or overwork.
- I’m going to continue making tiny 5 second increases every few days so that I build up stamina slowly without provoking a flare up in pain.
- I’m increasing by a minute to 5 minutes and I’m following the movements provided by my audiologist (Qi Gong style movements).
My energy level has been much more consistent since changing to 15 minute breaks between each activity. This has slowed my day down but hopefully I’ll be able to build up over time. And if not then I am still happier if I don’t wind up resting in bed as often – and fingers crossed it seems to be okay as far as that’s concerned.