Pacing Strategies

Pacing strategies! What is that I hear you asking? What has that got to do with me and why would I see an article titled like this in a physiotherapy newsletter? Well if you have a spare 2-3 minutes let me explain.

Over the years I have noticed a common theme presenting with regards to many of the long-term and sudden onset short-term injuries that present on a day to day basis here at Central Baldivis Physiotherapy. We are talking about conditions like chronic back pain, achilles tendinopathy, knee aching, neck / shoulder pain and the list goes on …….. One of the primary issues that presents is a poor understanding and application of pacing strategies. Now the concept is simple. Pick an activity you enjoy (gardening) or something that simply just needs to get down (vacuuming) and pace your way through it.

This can be done by breaking up the task into “bite sized pieces”, so to speak, like 3 lots of 20 minutes with small 5 minute breaks to allow for stretching, releasing, change of posture or simply resting. A small alteration in how the task is done can make a substantial difference to the pain outcomes by the time it is complete. Often the reason for increased pain over any given task is that the tissues are sensitised - due to injury for example or central sensitisation (now that’s a loaded term that will need a whole additional post to explain) and simply cannot tolerate long duration loading or repetitive movements with no breaks. Segmentalising the task helps reduce this build up of pain. Simple yet highly effective.

So why not give this strategy a go! It can be used for runners who are overdoing it, sporting athletes who are over-training or those experiencing back pain who simply need to manage their ongoing lower back ache better. If you would like more assistance in pacing strategies or would like specific application for your injury or ongoing pain please book and visit one of our physiotherapists at Central Baldivis Physiotherapy. We would love to help you.

Thank you and till next time,

Leroy Dekker