Back Pain Unit: Introducing Pacing

If you would like to introduce pacing into your daily activities, below are some basic techniques which you can try.

We know from research that keeping active is the best approach for people with chronic pain, but it can be easy to over-do things, leading to increased pain.

Why use pacing?

Some people with back pain find that when they are having a 'good day' they tend to get on and do a lot of jobs. This can leave them in increased pain the day after, or even a number of days after.
By using pacing this pattern can be broken. By doing small amounts of an activity each day, pain will not flare up and by gradually increasing the amount done this can lead to a more active lifestyle.

What are the basic principles of pacing?

  • Breaking activities into smaller parts
  • Taking regular breaks from an activity (especially if you need to be in one position to do the activity)
  • Changing your position regularly - for example doing a task that requires sitting and then one that requires you to stand
  • Do not spend too long on one activity in any one day
  • Increase the amount you do week by week.

So does this mean I will be doing less?

Although you are breaking the activity into smaller parts the idea is that you will do more overall. You can work on increasing the amount you do - make small increases weekly rather than daily, as this gives your body time to adapt.

On the pain management programme in the back pain unit we go into pacing in a lot more detail and work on it with you over a number of weeks.