The best way to stay in control of your back pain is to use the management techniques presented in this patient resource guide. The more you use them, the more they help you maintain your progress and avoid relapses.
CONTINUE WORKING TOWARD YOUR GOALS
You can create a checklist of your goals and put an X by each goal you reach. To strengthen your motivation, consider asking a family member or friend to review your checklist periodically.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Seeing the progress you have made can motivate you to continue your goals.
MAKE AN AGREEMENT WITH YOURSELF
Some people find that making a commitment with themselves to improve their lives and manage their pain helps them follow through on their goals.
PLAN YOUR DAY
You are more likely to complete an activity when you specifically schedule time for it. Also, consider using “todo” lists or writing notes on a calendar to remind you of priorities.
MAKE YOUR RESIDENCE A HEALTHFUL HAVEN
You should look around your house periodically and consider getting rid of things that might draw you back into unhealthful habits. When you walk around your house, you should be able to see evidence of a person who lives a happy and active life.
ASK FOR AND ACCEPT HELP AND SUPPORT
It is not a sign of weakness or failure to accept help from other people. Everyone needs support and encouragement from others some time. This keeps an individual on track and helps him or her through challenging days. In addition to support from family and friends, consider joining a chronic pain support group.
PARTNER WITH YOUR DOCTOR
Your doctor can be your biggest advocate. Keep him or her up-to-date on your progress. Also, advise your doctor of any obstacles you may encounter. He or she can help you overcome them.
You could list as many positive statements about yourself as you can and then say them to yourself when you are feeling discouraged or in danger of slipping back into old patterns of unhealthful behavior. If you do have a setback, you should accept that it happens, and move on positively.
PREPARE FOR CHALLENGES
You might make a list of situations that could affect your positive lifestyle changes. Then, you can prepare a response plan that can be activated when needed. For example, you have been walking for 30 minutes each day. You know the weather will be changing soon and you do not like being in the heat (if it is summer) or the snow and cold (if it is winter). What are your choices? You might walk indoors at a nearby mall. A local school might allow indoor walking during certain hours. You might consider purchasing a treadmill.
REWARD YOUR SUCCESSES
This is a great way to reinforce positive change. When you reach a goal or execute one of your pain strategies, you can treat yourself to something enjoyable. This could be having a relaxing cup of tea after your daily walk, or buying that special outfit for completing you six-month stress-reduction goal.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.