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Pacing For Pain And Fatigue

Pacing is an evidence-based approach to increasing activity and fitness, and in reducing overall pain and fatigue. It is designed to prevent 'boom and bust' patterns of activity.


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Some forms of chronic pain and fatigue are thought to be maintained by 'boom and bust' patterns of activity – the individual will be active when they are feeling well but will often 'overdo' it, leading once again to high levels of pain or fatigue. Pacing is a technique whereby activity is increased from a low baseline in a controlled manner – the idea is to make activity more consitent and less dependent upon how the individual is feeling. Pacing For Pain And Fatigue is an information sheet which presents information about the technique separately for chronic pain and fatigue. It should be noted that current evidence for pacing is somewhat equivocal.


  • Birkholtz, M., Aylwin, L., & Harman, R. M. (2004). Activity pacing in chronic pain management: One aim, but which method? Part one: Introduction and literature review. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(10), 447-452.
  • Andrews, N. E., Strong, J., & Meredith, P. J. (2012). Activity pacing, avoidance, endurance, and associations with patient functioning in chronic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 93(11), 2109-2121.
  • Nielson, W. R., Jensen, M. P., Karsdorp, P. A., & Vlaeyen, J. W. (2013). Activity pacing in chronic pain: concepts, evidence, and future directions. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 29(5), 461-468.