Self-care is what people do for themselves to improve and maintain better health, and to prevent and deal with illness in between doctor visits.

Self-care refers to the things that you can do, to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, emotionally, and mentally well. Self-care can help reduce pain and control the symptoms that often accompany pain such as fatigue, sleep problems, memory and concentration problems, and negative mood. There are many things that you can do to control these symptoms using your thinking, feelings, and behavior. Research suggests that self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, reducing pain, and becoming better at managing stress.

Pain always gets processed in the brain

If you have back pain, your back sends a signal to your brain telling it something might be wrong. Your brain then decides how intense the pain should be, what the pain should feel like, and whether or not pain is even needed. What you are doing, thinking and feeling at the time your back sends that signal to your brain, plays a big role in shaping any pain that results.

Self-Care is simple but requires consistency

Taking daily control over what you do, think, and feel is central to successful self-care. There is nothing difficult about the techniques of self-care except for the need to be consistent. That is why PainTools® both describes what needs to happen (the easy part) and helps you to stick to it over time (the hard part).

Use multiple “channels” to influence pain processing

The methods of self-care that PainTools® offers are a mix of techniques. Some alter pain processing via emotions, some by thinking differently, and some by changes in behavior. By having “go to” techniques that work for you in each modality, you will be laying a foundation for successful chronic pain management.

When people engage in good self-care, professional care such as medications and physical therapy often work better, quality of life improves, and symptoms become more manageable.