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Values & Chronic Pain


Studies by the CDC and others have found upwards of 50 Million Americans live with some type of chronic pain. Advances in treatments are happening. While these vary greatly in availability and cost, here's one helpful connection we can all do for free!

Our core values help define the direction we want our lives to move towards. They drive our decisions and actions.

We are never "finished" moving toward our values.

  • Being a loving partner or a helpful colleague are both values because you have to keep living like one or you will cease to be one

We do reach attainable destinations in our valued direction. These exist as our goals.

  • Buying your partner flowers of offering to cover for a colleague while they’re on vacation are goals that are consistent with your values

Working toward our values brings meaning and satisfaction to our lives.

When we live with pain it can derail us from living out what we want for our lives. The pain becomes bigger than the drive of our values. When we can make LIFE bigger our pain feels smaller.

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Define what your core values are. Write them down. Prioritize them. Here are some examples:

  • Family relationships
  • Relationship with your partner/spouse
  • Friendships
  • Work/Professional life
  • Learning/Growth
  • Community involvement
  • Spirituality/Religious practice
  • Health
  • Recreation/Hobbies

Next, ask yourself:
"If I were acting on this value, what kind of actions would I take?"


Pain & Activity Cycle

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A common pattern shows that overdoing activity is accompanied by increased pain and followed by the need for extended periods of rest & recovery.

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This "boom-bust" pattern of activity can lead to worsening of chronic pain.

A time-based pacing pattern of activity shows that pacing results in steady levels of activity & pain.

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Benefits of Time-based Pacing

  • Can continue to take part in many of the activities you enjoy
  • Avoid extreme pain
  • Fewer and shorter pain flare-ups
  • Experience less tension and fatigue
  • Have a more stable level of activity
  • Over time, increase amount of activity the body can engage in without experiencing more pain
  • More productive

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What are some ways you can use time-based pacing?

Recently, I've had the pleasure to work with a pain management clinic at the Veterans Administration. The information in this post came from them in a class they provided. It's shared here to acknowledge & support those dealing directly with chronic pain and those who help them live to their fullest everyday.

As my Grandmother put it; "You have to keep moving otherwise they'll throw dirt on you!" She kept moving until 95 years old and so can you!

Be well!


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  • Screen Shot 2021-10-05 at 7.44.33 AM
  • Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 7.46.32 AM
  • Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 7.51.55 AM
  • Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 7.54.32 AM
  • Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 7.59.00 AM

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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