Goal setting guidelines for pain management
Finding pain management guidelines and setting pain management goals helps you understand what you are working towards, whilst tracking and measuring.
You can either work these out for yourself – maybe write them down so that they feel like a tangible aim – or talk them through with a friend or a family member.
What to keep in mind when creating your pain management goals:...
- Set personal goals in relation to your personal pain
- Make your goals specific and measurable
- Think about pace setting
- Be realistic
Setting personal goals
It can help to have a tangible marker to work towards that is specifically related to how pain is impacting your life, and how you want that to change.
For instance, if you experience acute pain – pain that lasts less than three months and resolves after standard healing time – your goals may include:
- Reduction of pain to a tolerable or acceptable level
- Facilitate recovery and healing
- Preventing the onset of chronic pain
If you have chronic pain – pain that lasts three or more months and is not something that will heal – your goals may look different. Tangible goals for chronic pain may include:
- Aim to decrease pain in your everyday life and restore function
- Better understand potential triggers to help manage flare-ups more effectively
- Restore function
- Address the emotional and social impacts of pain
- Identify and adopt effective coping methods
Make your pain management goals specific and measureable
In the previous example we talked about setting the goal of decreased pain (which would be measurable in a pain diary, as detailed in how to talk about pain). But equally you might decide the aim is the ability to perform certain tasks.
You could focus on a couple of things the pain keeps you from doing, and see if there is a way to make them achievable. If walking is difficult, you could set yourself an aim to get to the end of your road and sit on a bench, or deliver a handwritten letter to a friend two blocks over. Choose something that will help you to feel happy and fulfilled.
Then set yourself a target date for it - whether that is the end of the year, or a specific event you are looking forward to, such as your daughter’s wedding.