Coping With Fatigue

Coping With Fatigue

By Diane LaChapelle Ph.D., LPsyc

Fatigue is a very common complaint among people living with chronic pain. It can be a direct result of the painful condition (like arthritis or fibromyalgia), a result of pain keeping you awake at night, or a result of the energy you use coping with the pain.

It might help to think of your energy level like a bank account. When your energy expenses are more than your deposits, the result is significant fatigue. Pain is like a constant expense – it is always draining your account. Other withdrawals from the energy bank include the energy you spend coping with the pain, and the added effort it takes to accomplish your daily tasks. Depression, anger, and stress all cost you energy. There are a lot of energy withdrawals taking place every day.

The following pages in this section can help you increase your energy level:

  • 5 Ps of Pain Management. This page gives five easy tips for controlling your pain.
  • Exercise. Regular physical activity helps improve your pain and gives you energy.
  • 10% Rule. When you have become accustomed to a certain level of activity and want to do more of it, you should only increase your activity level by about 10%. This page tells you how to go about doing this.
  • Pleasurable Activities. This page talks about the importance of doing things you enjoy as they can help distract you from the pain, keep you active, and improve your mood.
  • Identifying Personal Values. This page helps you re-evaluate what is important to you and therefore what you want to spend your energy on.

You can also increase your energy level by getting a good rest each night. See the following websites for information on improving your sleep: