L - LEARN ABOUT PAIN AND RECOVERY

 

When you are working on recovering from injury or illness and learning about managing pain, it helps to have a good understanding of how both pain and the recovery process work. Knowledge is power!

There are a lot of misconceptions about both pain and recovery. For instance, the idea that if you can’t find a medical explanation for pain that it means the pain is in your head. If you feel pain, the pain is real. Pain doesn’t necessarily mean that some part of your body is physically damaged. However, you may use different recovery strategies depending on whether there are medical findings or not.

Another myth about pain is that if it gets worse, it means your injury or illness is getting worse. Here you would learn about how recovery is not about steady progress, but goes up and down on an ascending curve. You would learn about how pain is a normal part of recovery.

You may have decided that you can’t do your favourite activity anymore, like hiking or gardening. Learning pacing strategies would help you bring activities back into your life. You may not be able to do things the way you used to, but can you walk around the outside of your house or pull three weeds?

There is a lot to learn about pain and the recovery process, and this step of the RECLAIM Program teaches what you need to know to move you down your road to recovery. Here are some FAQs to get you started.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PAIN AND RECOVERY TO HELP ME COPE?

There is so much to know about how pain and the recovery process work. And knowledge is power. Since I can only highlight a few things here, if you want to go into this in greater depth, you may want to consider attending a workshop.

1. No one strategy or pill or treatment is going to be the solution to your pain or illness. So even if you are on a quest for “the” medical solution, always combine that with using a range of coping strategies. Don’t wait for that one magic pill. Don’t wait for someone else to fix you.

Managing pain or illness will always be about a bunch of strategies you put together. No one strategy is powerful enough on its own. Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle, with each puzzle piece being a strategy. If you snap enough pieces of the puzzle into place, you can see the picture.

2. The recovery process can be discouraging and often lasts longer than you expect or were made to believe. To hook into feeling more encouraged, look for ways to measure your recovery.

Don’t use pain, as it is often the poorest measure of recovery. Pain can last beyond the point in which you have stepped back into your usual activities. Instead, look for any sign of something you can do more of or can do differently one week to the next. It doesn’t matter how small.

Can you lift one more pound? Walk two more minutes? Do you have more energy at the end of the day? Did you accept a social invitation you wouldn’t have a week earlier? Can you pull one more weed in your garden?

As long as there is even the smallest improvement, you’re heading in the right direction. Take encouragement from that.