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Spinal Cord Injury: Changing Your Activity Levels

Topic Overview

Many people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) have pain from using the same muscle, muscle group, or joint over and over. People with SCIs often develop muscle overuse, for example, as a result of pushing a manual wheelchair. Changing how long you do an activity can sometimes help reduce or prevent pain from overusing your muscles or joints.

To help you find how long you can do a certain activity, keep a log that tracks activities that can result in pain. And then set time limits on how long you do them.

  • List any activity that eventually results in pain (for example, walking or typing on the computer).
  • When doing each activity, write down how long it takes until the pain starts or increases.
  • Set a time limit for doing the activity that is below the point when your pain starts. When you reach your time limit, stop and rest. How long you rest will vary. You want to rest enough to be able to continue doing the activity.
  • Return to the activity after your rest period.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last Revised February 15, 2013

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