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A positive approach to self help is vital

There is an abundance of research, supporting the importance of a positive and proactive approach, for patients recovering from all types of spinal and joint problems. This especially applies to those suffering long term (chronic) conditions. At its most basic level, this involves the ability to see the glass 'half full' rather than 'half empty'.
 
Whatever treatment is implemented and almost irrespective of the condition, the attitude and compliance of patients makes a real difference to the rate of recovery and perception of pain.
 
Relevant issues include:-
1) Working with the practitioner who is trying to help you. Gaining an understanding of the problem and the treatment plan as well as listening to and sticking to the advice given.
 
2) Pacing your activity at a level which keeps you active, but not so much that you aggravate symptoms or so little that you become 'stiffened up'. Being sedentary for too long encourages general body deconditioning and lack of fitness which can take a long time to recover.
 
3) Using medication as instructed and correctly. Too many of us use medication 'when it hurts' and not 'when it does't'. Many anti-inflammatories, painkillers and muscle relaxants work best when they are taken consistently over a period of time. They may take a while for the maximum effect to be achieved.
 
4) Maintain a normal pattern of life as far as possible. Keep at work if possible, even if this means reduced hours or workload. If you are off work, try and get up, wash and dress in a regular routine and keep gentle activity going even if this is only pottering about or walking.
 
5) Try to remain mentally positive. Focus on the things you can do rather than those you can't. Always look forward to things you can add to your day without exacerbating your symptoms.
 
Much of the above may seem like simple common sense and obvious. However, it is surprisingly easy to slip into a negative attitude when overtaken by long term pain. Do not be afraid to discuss these issues with Andrew Gilmour and his colleagues.  As a patient, you will not be alone in having such issues to deal with.


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