So why are self management skills so important? 

The most important job of any clinician of therapist is to empower a patient in pain, to help you develop strategies to help cope with your pain

There is a place for passive interventions, and people do get short term relief from them, but that’s what most treatment room techniques should be viewed as, a bit like a mechanical pain killer a short term intervention. 

Once you leave your session with an expert, whomever that be. Their job is to ensure that you know exactly what you should or shouldn’t be doing for your pain. When the pain strikes you can’t rely on passive treatment. 

In the words of David Poulter @retlouping – “At 3am when your pain comes back you can’t have needles, clicking scrapping, sticking, cupping therapy. Hopefully, you’ll have learned [your therapist has shown you, sic] some self-management skills.

You can see self management as everything that takes place outside the treatment room.

So what skills should someone be teaching you for self management.  

  • Stress reduction techniques – inc mindfulness, medication 
  • Education about back pain
  • Exercises.
  • Pain science education
  • Reassurance 
  • Advice around moving rather than resting
  • The medication you can take to help decrease the pain. 
  • Lifestyle and social factors that may worsen or improve pain
  • Encouragement of early return to work and activities
  • Positive self-reinforcement 
  • Self-monitoring for improvement
  • Identification of unhelpful beliefs.

So if you are reading this as a therapist, make sure you are encouraging some active management in your patients, and if you are a patient make sure your therapist or clinician is giving you something to do outside the treatment room!