Organising a Setback Plan
It is not realistic to think that you will never have a setback ever again. Remember if you are an overachiever; it is easy to forget to pace yourself and in turn you may experience a setback.
So, the first thing not to do is panic, but many people do. It is best to have a setback plan ready if one occurs.
Setbacks are usually caused by doing too much - overdoing it, pressure from others, or just forgetting you have a pain problem. Try not to get annoyed with yourself, it can cause more stress and pain.
Don't forget to stretch before and after most physical activities to avoid a setback! If you are not sure how to prepare a setback plan, ask your GP or healthcare professional for help.
Taking your medication
Follow or ask the advice of your Doctor, GP or Pharmacist about medication and when you need to take it.
If you have to take regular medication, think of ways to remind yourself to take it. Many people just simply forget. Use post it notes, a timer or get someone to remind you. Please remember that taking medication if you have musculoskeletal pain (back, leg, arm, neck etc.) may mask the pain and encourage you to do more.
For musculoskeletal pain (back, leg, arm, neck etc.)
Apply heat and/or ice in a way that makes you most comfortable. To relieve initial pain, you could apply ice packs wrapped in damp towels for 5 minutes every hour for the first one or two days.
Always make sure you have a cloth of some type between your skin and the ice, to prevent burning the skin and causing an ice burn. It is not recommended that you lie on an ice pack. (People with rheumatic problems may prefer to use heat rather than ice).
Again, if you are not sure, seek advice from your GP or healthcare professional.
Take it easy
Briefly cutback on normal activities, lie or sit down for a short while and relax but not for too long. Bed rest weakens muscle strength rapidly, you lose about 1% of total muscle strength a day if you become inactive - remember keeping active and mobile can actually speed your recovery, but caution with the fatigue. Try to start moving gently Remember to pace yourself. Begin gentle stretching and movement as soon as possible to regain normal suppleness. Keeping active may seem alien to you, but in pain self-management terms, learning to live with a persistent pain is a skill to be learned. Don’t be put off, it does work!
Using relaxation is another good way of managing a setback. Accept it is just a setback, and as it came, it will leave. Check out the website Living with Pain for free downloadable simple relaxation skills/techniques.