Key messages

  • Physical activity is a critical part of any chronic pain management plan.

  • Try to increase the amount of time you spend moving around (“uptime”), and limiting the amount of time you spend sitting or lying down (“downtime”).

  • Uptime does not always have to be vigorous exercise, in fact it should include walking to school or work, doing household chores like laundry, or playing sports.

  • Plan your physical activity so that you take regular, scheduled rest breaks.

  • Do your best to stick to your plan, but be ready to change it if circumstances change. For example, if pain flares for a day or two, you need to modify your activity level on the plan or seek help to find out the right level of activity and how much discomfort is acceptable. Once you find an acceptable level of activity, try to stick to it, even if you don’t like how it feels at the time.

  • Your pain may (and probably will) increase while you're active, but you can do things to cope with pain or distract from pain to make this easier and help you stick to your plan.

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