What Is Self-Management?
Self-management is about being aware of and putting into practice the little things that make a big difference to your quality of life when you have arthritis. Taking medication does not represent the full spectrum of arthritis treatment, but is rather just one (albeit essential) part of keeping your arthritis under control. Self-management is about recognising this and understanding that you and how you live is the key to taking back control of your life.
If the choice is to be an active manager, then we must be willing to take on three sets of self-management tasks.
1. Take care of your health problems (such as taking medicine, exercising, going to your
Keeping informed about your status - asking questions, reading and when necessary carrying information from one provider to another. Taking part in planning your treatment programme by monitoring and reporting on your condition and sharing your preferences and goals with the doctor, and all other members of your healthcare team.
2. Carry out your normal activities (activities, employment, social life, etc.)
Doing the things in life that are important to us. This may mean changing the way we do things.
3. Manage your emotional changes (Changes brought about by your illness, such as anger, uncertainty about the future, changed expectations and goals, and sometimes depression. Changes can also happen in your relationships with family and friends.)
Knowing that there will be emotional 'ups and downs' and that the 'downs'
Many people assume that the symptoms they are experiencing are due to only one cause: arthritis or fibromyalgia. While it can certainly cause pain, fatigue, it is not the only cause. Each of these symptoms can by themselves contribute to the other symptoms, and all can make pain and fatigue worse.
Even worse, they can feed on each other. For example, inflammation from
By understanding the Pain/Fatigue Cycle and how each symptom contributes to
Treatingpain earlier is more effective than if you wait until it gets bad. Don’t wait to see if it’s going to get worse. Treat pain when you first notice it.
- Small changes in pain can make a huge difference. You do not have to be
pain freeto do what you want and like. Sometimes just taking the edge off the pain can make a great difference.
- Self-management activities such as exercise are not usually
pain free. However, you can use pain as a way to judge when we have done too much or when we should be doing more. We will talk more about this when we discuss exercise.
Sign up for:
Living Well with Arthritis - 6 week course
Breaking the Pain Cycle - 3 hour workshop