A positive approach to self-help is vital
There is an abundance of research, supporting the importance of a positive and proactive approach, for patients recovering from all types of spinal and joint problems.
This especially applies to those suffering from long-term (chronic) conditions. At its most basic level, this involves the ability to see the glass ‘half full’ rather than ‘half empty’.
Whatever treatment is implemented and almost irrespective of the condition, the attitude and compliance of patients makes a real difference to the rate of recovery and perception of pain.
You should consider the following:
Working with the practitioner who is trying to help you. Gaining an understanding of the problem and the treatment plan as well as listening to and sticking to the advice given. However, if your symptoms increase or you are unhappy with your progress do not be afraid to discuss these issues.
- Pacing your activity at a level which keeps you active, but not so much that you aggravate symptoms or so little that you ‘stiffen up’. Being sedentary for too long encourages a lack of general body conditioning and a reduction in fitness which can take a long time to recover.
- If medication is needed, using it as instructed by your medical practitioner. Too many of us use medication when it hurts and not when it doesn’t. Many anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers and muscle relaxants work best when they are taken consistently over a period of time. They may take a while for the maximum effect to be achieved.
- >Maintaining a normal pattern of life as far as possible. Keep at work if possible, even if this means reduced hours or workload. If you are off work, try and get up, wash and dress in a regular routine and keep gentle activity going even if this is only pottering about or walking.
- >Above all, trying to remain mentally positive. Focus on the things you can do rather than those you can’t. Always look forward to things you can add to your day without exacerbating your symptoms.
Much of the above may seem like simple common sense and obvious but it is surprisingly easy to slip into a negative attitude when dealing with long-term pain.