Persistent Pain

Hobbies

Hobbies help you structure your time. People with hobbies normally work round a timetable in their minds which help them plan when they take part in the activities they enjoy. So, hobbies can seem to create more time by encouraging efficiency.
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Left to our own devices, we often opt for passive ways of passing time. TV and web surfing are at the top of most people’s lists. We all need to relax from time to time, but we are so much more invigorated by active leisure. If you’ve ever lost yourself in a sport, art project, or other challenging, absorbing activity, you’ve experienced this. Time flies, self-consciousness disappears, and you are fully immersed in the activity at hand. Hobbies, especially those that stretch our skills, promote this desirable state.

Hobbies can foster new social connections. While some hobbies are solo activities, many get us out in our communities, meeting people we otherwise wouldn’t, sharing our passions, and forming new bonds. Countless studies have found that social connection is a key component of happiness and a meaningful life, and hobbies have the potential to build new friendships.

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Hobbies make you interesting. Hobbies give you something to talk about when you socialise with friends or new people. They add layers to your identity, richness to your self-concept. People want to be around those with passions, with a sense of curiosity, with stories to tell. You not only feel more inspired when you have a rich and active life, but you will inspire others as well.

Hobbies help you cope with stress. Many of us may have experienced a day where things just don’t seem to be going well, resulting in frustration and stress. Coming home and turning on the TV may provide a brief distraction, but it doesn’t address a change in your thinking/emotions. Now imagine that instead of watching TV or spending time on your phone, you join a local class (exercise / art / learning a language / or anything new to stimulate you) These activities are more than merely distracting. They remind you that that are many more aspects to who you are or who you can be. We can all develop new skills and abilities. You can indeed ‘teach an old dog new tricks’.

And the benefits can spill over into other aspects of your life. If you can designate an hour a day or even a few hours a week for something you feel truly inspired and excited by.

So, what should you choose as your new hobby? Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, like learning to knit, garden or play the piano. Maybe there’s something you used to love that you’ve stopped doing. Perhaps you could reach out to a new organization: a community choir, sports team, or book club.

Work

A common reason why many patients with persistent pain stop working is fear of making their condition / pain worse. Extensive research has been done regarding this, and there is no evidence that most work will harm you if you have persistent pain, and nor will it make the condition worse. There is also no evidence of work speeding up degenerative changes in neck and back pain because of work.

Research does show that pain management programmes like this and exercise do help people remain in work, or reduce the time required to get back to work. We have also learned that avoiding normal function and activity can actually makes things worse by stiffening and weakening the body.

Re-employment has been shown to be directly linked to improvements in self-esteem, your own perception of your health, actual physical health and financial concerns. 

Getting back to work should be considered as part of your persistent pain management plan. There are a number of ways of doing this.

Benefits of Work

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  • keeps us busy, challenges us and gives us the means to develop ourselves;
  • gives us a sense of pride, identity and personal achievement;
  • enables us to socialise, build contacts and find support;
  • provides us with money to support ourselves and explore our interests.

Health benefits of working

People in work tend to enjoy happier and healthier lives than those who are not in work.

Our physical and mental health is generally improved through work – we recover from sickness quicker and are at less risk of long term illness and incapacity.

Because of the health benefits, sick and disabled people are encouraged to return to, or remain in, work if their health condition permits it.

Health benefits of returning to work

Being out of work has a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. People who are unemployed:

  • have higher rates of physical and mental health problems
  • take more medication and use more medical services
  • have a shorter life expectancy.

Returning to work after a period of unemployment results in significant physical and mental health improvements, reversing the negative health effects of unemployment.

Here is a 5 minute video about pain from a patient who overcame his long-term pain

He has done a series of videos about pain which are definitely worth looking at.



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