Self-management refers to a person’s ability to manage their pain symptoms and treatment as well as the physical, emotional and social consequences and lifestyle changes caused by chronic pain.

It means coping with the day-to-day tasks needed to get you back to life. We use various methods including education on acute pain versus chronic pain, stress pain and appropriate use of medications.

Our aim is to reduce stress, improve your sleep, self-confidence and ability to deal with pain flare-ups.

Methods of supporting you actively self-manage your pain include:

  • Giving you information about your pain condition
  • Showing you how to best use your pain medication
  • Helping you manage pain symptoms that may include:
    • Pain-flare ups
    • Provoking and aggravating factors
    • Insomnia (sleep deprivation)
    • Fatigue
  • Helping you manage the psychological consequences of chronic pain like:
    • Coping and disease accepting
    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Problem solving
  • Improving your lifestyle:
    • Nutrition and diet
    • Exercise
    • Maintaining your exercise regimen (motivation and overcoming barriers)
    • Leisure activities
    • Setting goals
    • Quitting smoking
    • Holidays
  • Improving your self-confidence:
    • Assertiveness
    • Communication strategies (e.g. with doctors)
    • Decision making
  • Providing you with social support where needed:
    • Family support
    • Relationships with peers and family


    Strategies like taking excessive pain medications, resting or using hot/cold packs are called passive pain management strategies. Scientific research has show that using passive strategies to manage pain increases the chances of having high levels of pain-disability and having more visits to the doctor.

    The best types of strategies to manage pain are active pain management strategies and these include increasing levels of activities, like exercising.

    1. Barlow J, Wright C, Sheasby J, Turner A, Hainsworth J. Self-management approaches for people with chronic conditions: a review. Patient Educ Couns. 2002;48:177-87.
    2. Blyth FM, March LM, Nicholas MK, Cousins MJ. Self-management of chronic pain: a population-based study. Pain. 2005 Feb;113(3):285-92.
    We recognise that your pain affects your ability to do the things that make you who you are. We manage the impact that pain has on your world.
    — Dr Nick Christelis