top of page

Embracing the Spectrum of Pain

Plant Mirror Reflection


Welcome to JK Pain Rehab, where we're about to embark on a journey that delves deep into the often underestimated world of psychological strategies for pacing activities. You might be wondering why we're placing such importance on psychology when it comes to pacing. The answer lies in the profound impact that our mental and emotional well-being has on our ability to effectively manage and pace our activities, especially in the context of chronic pain. Join us as we explore the reasons behind this and discover how psychological strategies can revolutionize your approach to pacing.

Common Challenges with Pacing

In the corridors of our pain clinic, we frequently encounter individuals who express doubts about pacing. They say things like, "Pacing sounds fantastic in theory, but as a single parent, I just can't make it work," or "My boss won't allow me to pace, no matter how much I want to." Why do people with chronic pain grapple with these challenges? The answer lies in the intricate web of psychosocial factors that can hinder the effective implementation of pacing strategies.

Non-Modifiable Pain Contributing Factors

It's essential to recognize that certain facets of our social environment are beyond our control. These are what we term as non-modifiable pain-contributing factors. But does this mean we should abandon pacing when these factors exacerbate our pain? Absolutely not.

The Role of Psychological Flexibility

Psychological flexibility and maintaining a positive mindset are pivotal in this journey. Let's consider two individuals, Person A and Person B. Person A succumbs to the belief that "I can't change my environment," while Person B actively questions, "Is there anything I can do to alleviate this challenge?" It's the latter mindset that opens doors to potential solutions.

Psychological Barriers to Effective Pacing

Drawing from years of experience, we've identified distinct personas that often struggle with pacing:

  • The Perfectionist: These individuals give 120% to every task, often leading to frustration and resentment when others don't match their level of dedication. But at what cost? Constantly pushing your nervous system to its limits isn't conducive to overall well-being.

  • The Overly Kind: Individuals who are excessively compassionate tend to prioritize the needs of others above their own, often leaving them emotionally drained.

  • The Overly Independent: Those who rarely seek help, whether due to ego, fear, shyness, or a sense of defeat, risk overwhelming stress and burnout.

  • The Mood-Driven: This group bases their activity levels on their current mood. On good days, they tackle a multitude of tasks, but on bad days, they can hardly find the energy to get out of bed. This extreme fluctuation can lead to heightened nerve sensitivity and chronic fatigue.

Unlocking Psychological Strategies for Effective Pacing

Now, let's envision someone who embodies these traits along with a negative outlook and an inflexible approach to problem-solving. Can they effectively incorporate pacing activities into their life, irrespective of their social circumstances? It's undoubtedly a challenging endeavour.


To conquer these psychological barriers, we propose a set of psychological strategies:

  1. Avoid Giving 100%: Instead of pushing yourself to the brink, learn to pace your efforts to prevent physical and emotional exhaustion.

  2. Seek Support: Don't shy away from seeking assistance when needed; a supportive network can be a game-changer.

  3. Prioritize Self-Care: Dedicate time to self-care practices that nurture both your physical and emotional well-being.

  4. Embrace Emotional Pacing: For those grappling with mood fluctuations, always keep in mind the mantra, "Don't let bad days bring you down too much, and don't let good days carry you away."


In conclusion, the psychological aspect of pacing is a cornerstone of effective chronic pain management. By recognizing and addressing these psychological barriers, you can revolutionize your approach to pacing activities and enhance your overall well-being. It's a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to explore new strategies.

Welcome to the JK Pain Rehab blog! Today, we're going to delve into a crucial topic for anyone dealing with chronic pain – pacing. Pacing involves two key steps: Step 1, which focuses on distributing tasks effectively, and Step 2, which involves gradual exposure to build tolerance to those tasks. Let's break down these steps and understand how they can help you better manage your chronic pain.

[Step 1: Distributing Tasks]

Living with chronic pain can significantly impact your daily activities and sometimes leave you frustrated when you can't do the things you once enjoyed. At JK Pain Rehab, we believe that the first step in pacing is to measure your baseline. Keep in mind that your baseline may vary from day to day due to the fluctuations in your pain levels.

You can calculate your baseline in a couple of ways. One method is to find the range between your good and bad days. Another approach is to determine the average between your good and bad days. For instance, if you can walk around 5000 steps on a good day and 3000 steps on a bad day, your baseline could be described as 3000-5000 or simply 4000 (the average of the two).

Once you've established your baseline, the primary objective is not to exceed it. For instance, if your baseline is 4000 steps, you should aim not to go beyond 5000 steps on a good day and strive to stay close to 3000 steps on a bad day. It's crucial to avoid significant fluctuations between your good and bad days, as this can lead to flare-ups and increased pain sensitivity over time.

If you prefer an average-based approach, you can start by aiming for 80% of your calculated average and work your way up to that number each day. To make pacing more manageable, you can also categorize tasks into three groups: red, yellow, and green. Red tasks are those that are more likely to trigger flare-ups, yellow tasks fall in the middle, and green tasks are less likely to cause issues. Depending on your social situation and pain sensitivity, you can limit your daily activities. For example, you might decide to engage in no more than two red activities in one day, with at least a one-hour break between tasks.

[Step 2: Graded Exposure]

After mastering Step 1 and effectively distributing your tasks, you can consider moving on to Step 2: graded exposure. It's important to note that Step 2 is entirely optional. If your pain coping skills are not yet adequate, or if you're experiencing a high level of pain or a lack of social support, Step 2 may not be suitable for you. In such cases, it's perfectly acceptable to focus solely on Step 1. Rushing into Step 2 without mastering the first step can potentially lead to more pain flare-ups.

For those ready to proceed with Step 2, start by aiming for 80% of your baseline and gradually increase the duration or frequency of the activities you want to improve. The rate of progress can vary significantly from person to person. While textbooks often recommend a 5% increase every week, it's crucial to tailor this progression to your individual pain sensitivity and social situation. Consulting with a healthcare professional can be immensely helpful in setting and achieving your goals.

Are you ready to put pacing into practice? In our next blog post, we will explore the psychosocial aspects of pacing, offering you a holistic approach to managing chronic pain. Thank you for reading, and if you found this information helpful, please consider subscribing, liking, and sharing this blog. Your support means a lot to us, and remember, managing chronic pain is a journey, and we're here to support you every step of the way. Take care!

Chronic pain, an enigmatic and often misunderstood phenomenon, has sparked ongoing debates in the medical community. Is it a mere symptom of an underlying issue, or can it be considered a distinct disease in its own right? In this insightful blog post, we delve into the intricacies of chronic pain, dissecting its nature and shedding light on its management strategies.

Defining Chronic Pain: Symptom or Disease? At the heart of the debate lies the question of whether chronic pain should be classified as a symptom or a disease entity. While pain is commonly viewed as a response to an underlying cause, it can sometimes transcend this role. Chronic pain, characterized by its persistence or recurrence over three months, can act as a standalone condition or as a manifestation of an underlying ailment.

The Dichotomy of Chronic Primary Pain and Chronic Secondary Pain Unraveling the layers of chronic pain involves understanding its classifications. Chronic primary pain, found in conditions like fibromyalgia and nonspecific low-back pain, emerges as a disease entity in its own right. Conversely, chronic secondary pain surfaces as a result of an underlying condition, such as chronic cancer-related pain or neuropathic pain.

Navigating the Complexities: Chronic Pain as a Chronic Condition Imagine your nervous system as a vessel, where accumulated stress, trauma, and life experiences fill it like water in a cup. At a certain point, the cup overflows, and symptoms emerge. This analogy provides a glimpse into how chronic pain can arise from the accumulation of stressors over time, evolving from a symptom into a chronic condition.

The Tale of Person A and Person B Consider two individuals who sustain identical ankle sprains—Person A and Person B. Their responses, however, diverge dramatically due to their unique cup sizes and life histories. Person A, born with a larger cup already filled with stressors, experiences chronic pain, while Person B, with a smaller cup, escapes this fate.

A Holistic Approach: Collaborative Care for Chronic Pain Managing chronic pain involves a multidimensional strategy. Collaborative care, wherein a team of healthcare professionals collaborates to address various aspects of pain, is pivotal. This holistic approach ensures comprehensive care, tailored to each individual's unique circumstances.

Identifying Contributing Factors: A Personalized Approach Even if you're not currently symptomatic, evaluating your nervous system's health is crucial. Assess your sleep patterns, communication skills, stress levels, and physical activity. By addressing these contributing factors, you can proactively manage chronic pain and enhance your overall well-being.

Chronic pain is more than a mere symptom—it's a complex condition that warrants attention and understanding. By embracing a holistic perspective, acknowledging the interplay of genetics and accumulated stress, and adopting collaborative care, we can navigate the challenges posed by chronic pain. Subscribe to JK Pain Rehab's channel for further insights into chronic pain management and embark on a journey toward improved well-being and pain relief. Remember, you're not alone in this journey; knowledge is the key to empowerment.

bottom of page