Self-management and why

Why self-management?

Persistent pain has a considerable impact on the quality of life for many people in the UK. This workbook is an introduction to understanding why we have persistent pain and what we can do about it. Having up-to-date, scientific and usable knowledge about pain is a powerful treatment. You can then use this knowledge to change the things you do, think, say and of course, your level of pain. This can lead to improved function and quality of life.

Many people find that, despite their best efforts and the help they have received from doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, their friends and family, they are still left with a substantial degree of pain. They also often find that seeking help and searching for a cure comes with its own problems. People with persistent pain often feel increasingly desperate as time goes on and their pain continues. Each failed new treatment makes this feeling of desperation worse. Sometimes these treatments can produce significant problems of their own, such as side-effects from medicine, discomfort from procedures and exercises that they have tried.

As people live longer, many people will live with a long-term condition. Self-management is crucial for people living with any long-term conditions. On average, people living with health issues spend just four hours per year with their healthcare team; the rest of the time they are managing day-to-day life with that condition on their own. Self-management helps to improve quality of life and put you back in control of your condition.

Why should you self-manage?

Self-management encourages you to:

  • Find out more about your condition and be more informed
  • Learn new skills and tools to help you manage your health and functioning
  • Work better, and in partnership, with your healthcare team
  • Take charge of your healthcare and choose what is right for you
  • Get support from other people in a similar situation to you

Self-management is suitable no matter what your long-term health conditions are – for example, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, persistent pain, and anxiety. How people manage their health issues can make a positive difference to their symptoms and functioning.

Health professionals are now involved in enabling patients to understand their conditions, their treatment and self management options. This involves partnership working between the professional and the patient, which is a radically different approach to that of a more traditional medical model perspective 

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