The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

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Being in too much pain

I’m in too much pain to be active

When you’re in pain, being active can be the last thing you want to do.

But physical activity can be a powerful way to manage painful symptoms.  It can improve your mood, help you relax and improve sleep, all of which can help to reduce pain. 

You might find the following advice from physiotherapists reassuring before taking on a new activity:

  • Start small and build up gradually over a few weeks. 
  • Choose activities that you will enjoy and that you think you’ll be able to manage. 
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself - accept that some days will be harder than others and that you may not be able to do as much as you hoped on those occasions.
  • Are there times of the day when your symptoms are generally more manageable? Plan your activity to coincide with those times and with your pain medication routine.
  • If you get a temporary increase in familiar pain, that’s usually nothing to worry about.  If you get new, persistent, severe pain you should talk to a healthcare professional.

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