How to Create & Sustain Momentum at the Beginning of a New Year
ReclaimAbility Physician Dr. Wong goes in-depth regarding the benefits of exercise, ergonomics, and goals for building momentum.
The optimism associated with the end of this year has endless potential. Despite the jokes we’ve heard about escaping 2020 and what came with it, we all know that the calendar flipping to the 1st of a new year won’t solve our problems. But, optimism is powerful. The opportunity to shift priorities and actions as we move into 2021 provides the prime circumstances to create productive habits. So our January motto is Learn & Revive: create and sustain momentum. We’re highlighting Dr. Wong, who went into detail about forming momentum towards progress with pain management.
Remaining physically active is critical to managing chronic pain. Building a habit of consistent movement is a fantastic way to start 2021 and create valuable long-term results. The issue is, it can be intimidating to pursue that goal when you feel burdened by your pain. Dr. Wong understands that difficulty and her recommendation to patients reflects that: “It doesn’t have to be half an hour. It doesn’t have to be an hour. It doesn’t have to be very strenuous activity. It’s just the fact that they’re moving about, keeping their joints flexible, mobile, keeping their range of motion.” She also mentioned that the exercises patients learn in physical therapy are often neglected, but are perfect for at-home workouts since they use little to no equipment. Dr. Wong was clear in explaining that you shouldn’t set high expectations considering the pain you’re dealing with—do what you can, but do it as consistently as you can.
Many of us are still working from home and while we’ve all learned (at least a little) about best practices when it comes to our work stations & processes, small improvements can have grand impacts on managing pain. While Dr. Wong acknowledges she wouldn’t label herself an “expert,” she mentioned that “your body has to be in line 90 degrees at the elbows, at the knees. Your feet have to be 90 degrees on the floor. Your neck has to be in line with your spine and not with a head forward position. So that alleviates a lot of tension on your neck, on your spine, and on your joints.” Simple adjustments, such as the way you sit while working, can help you feel less pain and in turn have more energy to pursue activities that can benefit you physically & mentally—creating momentum. Dr. Wong also emphasized the importance of a safe home environment, which means taking the time to remove obstacles that are in your walking path or place non-slip mats that can save you from injury.
There are an innumerable amount of differing opinions in regards to new year’s resolutions. An aspect of that debate that seems almost universally agreed upon is the significance and power that goal-setting holds. Dr. Wong views January as “a perfect time to start setting goals, or thinking about change. I think they [patients] can definitely write down some of the goals for the year in terms of what they want to accomplish, in terms of activity, in terms of pain management. And I think if they write it down, it’s easier for them to follow through, throughout the rest of the year.” Use this month as an opportunity to decide how you want to form momentum and where you want to direct it. Everyone at ReclaimAbility is dedicated to helping you have a phenomenal 2021. Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to stay updated with our latest recommendations on managing pain. See you in February!