Prevention is the best option

Coronavirus, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. The importance of staying active during confinement

Physical activity has a positive effect on pain perception and quality of life for people with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. For this reason, it’s imperative to maintain an active lifestyle during the Covid-19 confinement. Here, you’ll find recommendations from the Expertise Unit on Central Sensitization Syndromes that will help you stay active during this period.


Plan and establish a daily routine

During confinement, it is important to maintain daily routines. Organise your day: set aside time for yourself, for your family, and for work, if you need to.

Working from home requires discipline, and even more so if you live with other people. Setting a timetable, sticking to it, standing up every 30 minutes to drink or to stretch, and ending your work day when those planned hours are over are some of the recommendations for working from home in a healthy way.

Establishing mealtimes, eating healthy food in moderation, and drinking enough water are very important.


Make sure you get good-quality sleep

For individuals who suffer from chronic pain, sleeping and resting well is essential. Sleeping badly makes them more sensitive to pain. For good-quality sleep, we propose the following recommendations: 

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule, with a fixed bedtime and time to wake up. You should also follow this timetable during confinement, at the weekends, and while on holiday.
  • If you need to take a nap, it is recommended that this be no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Find a few moments to relax before going to bed.
  • Do not use mobile devices during the two hours before going to bed.
  • Make sure to leave at least two hours between eating dinner and going to bed.
  • Do not eat or drink anything at night (only water).
  • Exercise daily, in the sunlight whenever possible. Try not to exercise in the two-hour window before bedtime.
  • Use the bedroom for sleeping or having sex. Temperature, light, and sound are important aspects to keep in mind when trying to get good-quality sleep.
  • If you are not able to fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do a calming activity in another room. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
  • It is important to not stay awake longer than usual, even if you’re in pain.

Here you will find more advice for getting a good night's rest and ensuring sleep quality during confinement. Link to coronavirus and sleep health advice.


Avoid information overload

Keeping up-to-date is necessary, but so is not being constantly exposed to information. We recommend you choose one time a day to listen to the news and ration the use of social media


Keep a positive attitude

A positive attitude starts with small goals. Start by finding one positive thing on the first day and writing it down. Then go adding positive things every day: the second day, two, the third day, three, the fourth day, four, and so on until you are finding 10 positive things per day.


Tools to combat anxiety

Take a moment each day to be present with yourself and those around you. Use that time to disconnect. Remember that breathing exercises and meditation can help you.

The benefits of mindfulness

  • It will help you become more self-aware
  • It helps to rest and relax the mind
  • It improves mood and helps with anxiety and depression (link to health advice)
  • It will help you improve sleep quality
  • It releases tension
  • It improves memory and concentration 


Exercise moderately and progressively

Movement is essential and necessary for good health and the correct functioning of our systems and bodily functions. Thanks to a well-planned, gradual exercise programme, we can progressively get the brain to stop focusing on danger and threats and prevent pain.

  • Increase exercise intensity progressively.
  • Set motivating, fun, and social goals.
  • Avoid falling into a vicious circle where you avoid exercising out of fear of pain, which causes more pain, making it more and more difficult to lead a normal life. If you avoid doing the things that cause you discomfort or trigger symptoms, you won't stop having symptoms, you’ll only stop doing things, which will trigger an even greater disability and more depression, pain, and fatigue.
  • Reach your goals slowly and progressively. You’ll be on the right path to doing your activities without any symptoms.

Find out how to start exercising in a structured and progressive way.


Learn about your health problem

To prevent and manage pain, it’s important to learn about the disease and educate yourself on the neuroscience of pain.

Knowing what it is and understanding the brain mechanisms that cause pain is the first step towards getting better. Don’t let pain dictate how you live your life and limit what you can do. 




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