Ten Steps From Patient to Person
Step One: Accept the Pain
Learn all you can about your physical condition. Understand that there may be no current cure and accept that you will need to deal with the fact of pain in your life.
Step Two: Get Involved
Take an active role in your own recovery. Follow your doctor’s advice and ask what you can do to move from a passive role into one of partnership in your health care.
Step Three: Learn to Set Priorities
Look beyond your pain to the things that are important in your life. List the things that you would like to do. Setting priorities can help you find astarting point to lead you back into a more active life.
Step Four: Set Realistic Goals
We all walk before we run. Set goals that are within your power to accomplish or break a larger goal down into manageable steps. And take time toenjoy your successes.
Step Five: Know Your Basic Rights
We all have basic rights. Among these are the right to be treated with respect, to say no without guilt, to do less than humanly possible, to make mistakes,and to not need to justify your decision–with words of pain.
Step Six: Recognize Your Emotion
Our bodies and minds are one. Emotions directly affect physical well-being. By acknowledging and dealing with your feelings, you can reduce stressand decrease the pain you feel.
Step Seven: Learn to Relax
Pain increases in times of stress. Relaxation exercises are one way of reclaiming control of your body. Deep breathing, visualization, and other relaxationtechniques can help you to better manage the pain you live with.
Step Eight: Exercise
Most people with chronic pain fear exercise. However, unused muscles feel more pain than tones, flexible ones. With your doctor, identify a modestexercise program that you can do safely. As you build strength, your pain will decrease. You will feel better about yourself.
Step Nine: See the Total Picture
As you learn to set priorities, reach goals, assert your basic rights, deal with your feelings, relax, and regain control of your body, you will see that pain doesnot need to be the center of your life. You can choose to focus on your abilities, not your disabilities. You will grow stronger.
Step Ten: Reach Out
It is estimated that one person in three suffers with some form of chronic pain. Once you have begun to find ways to manage your chronic painproblem, reach out and share what you know. Living with chronic pain is an ongoing learning experience. We all support and learn from each other.
© American Chronic Pain Association 1985