How should I set goals for my pain self-management plan?

First think about your long-term, overall goal. For example, do you want to learn new skills for managing pain? Decrease the effects of your pain on your mood? Get back to an activity you enjoyed before your pain interfered with it? Having goals builds a foundation for developing and implementing a pain self-management plan and provides motivation, a sense of control and structure for managing pain.

Next, with your overall goal in mind, set a few smaller, short-term goals for managing pain, using your pain log as a guide. For example, perhaps you notice that you often have a pain flare-up after spending an entire afternoon running errands. Perhaps you also saw a pattern that pain and irritability increase when you are fatigued or stressed. Use this information, knowledge of your strengths, and the tools below to set a goal for how you might decrease a pain flare-up in the future.

Your plan should include not only goals for decreasing pain, but also goals for pursuing activities and roles that are important to you. Be realistic. Don’t try to do too much too soon; break larger goals into steps you feel confident you can achieve.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.