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Pain and your Limits: Exercise

6 min. reading time

One of the main pitfalls of chronic pain is that we often do too much, or too little. In short, staying within your physical limits can be difficult. Too little activity can make your condition worse, too much effort can make your body endure too much. Both pitfalls often lead to more pain in the long run.

Pain and your Limits. Exercise part 1

This week's exercise consists of two parts. First, you make a list of activities you like to do. So grab a pen and paper before you read on. Draw up a list of activities that:

  •     You like to do now
  •     The activities you did before but not (often) anymore
  •    Activities you've always wanted to do, but haven't done yet
Pain and your Limits

Pain and your Limits. Exercise part 2 - new limits

Now that you have this list, you choose one to three activities that you would like to start or expand. Make sure there is at least one activity between which you can be physically active. 

Example: For example, you may choose reading and walking. Reading often doesn't work well in terms of concentration, and you always liked to walk, but less in recent years.

For each activity you do the following

  1. Determine how long or how much you can do the activity now without problems. For example: you will be able to read for 5 minutes in a concentrated way and walk for 10 minutes. Not sure? Then do each activity for 4 days in a row and keep a record of how long you can do it without problems.
  2. Decide how much you want to expand each day. For example: Walk 2 minutes longer every day and read 2 minutes longer. Do this. If you notice that it is going too fast, or too slow, adjust it - but start with small steps!
  3. Agree with yourself: if you have a good day, you may do a little more - but don't suddenly do much more! If the day is bad, you may do a little less, but you will still carry out your activities well within your physical limits.

Because chronic pain often does not mean more damage to the body, it is important to be active even on days when you have more problems. If necessary, discuss with your family doctor or physiotherapist how you can do this under supervision!