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Pacing for long-term pain

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Fatigue is common in people with arthritis and is often related to pain. A key part of managing pain and fatigue is striking a balance between activity and rest, otherwise known as pacing. Rest helps to recharge the batteries and enables you to keep active for longer. You should have short breaks of 3–5 minutes every 30–45 minutes to sit and rest your joints. Alternatively, ‘microbreaks’ of 30 seconds every 5–10 minutes may be more suited to your lifestyle.

Balancing different levels of activity can also help with keeping your energy up. You might want to do heavier activities on a good day, but this can make you feel worse for a while after. Your occupational therapistphysiotherapist or psychologist can advise on how to improve your energy levels by planning to spread lighter and heavier activities evenly throughout the week. You can download and print our activity chart (PDF 128 KB) to record your daily activities and highlight periods where pain or fatigue caused difficulties. You may be able to spot and avoid patterns of activity which cause you problems.


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