Julie Hughes Pain Recovery Coach

I have a Pain Recovery Coach as my first ever Guest Blogger!

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I am so excited to have my very first Guest Blog post on Notebooks and Glasses | Chronic Pain Blog. Julie Hughes is a Pain Recovery Coach and Physical Therapist and we connected via Instagram. I love learning from Julie as she talks a lot of sense and gives some really simple but effective advice and tips to help anyone with chronic pain.
Julie Hughes Pain Recovery Coach blog logo image
My name is Julie Hughes and I am from Syracuse, NY USA. I have been in the Physical Therapy profession since 2006 and recently started my own business coaching others 1:1 with ongoing, persistent pain.
A photo of Julie Hughes Pain Recovery Coach sat on a bench
I help each of my clients identify and navigate their pain experience to return to a life that is meaningful for them. I too am on this journey and share in my newsletters and blogs what I have learned from my pain experience, what has helped me, and offer encouragement and hope along the way.
I have been fortunate enough to have connected with Alice and have enjoyed reading her blogs.? It has been helpful to read her story and get her perspective.? We certainly can learn from each other.
Please feel free to reach out with questions, my email is juliepainrecoverycoach@gmail.com or connect with me on:
Facebook: fb/painrecoverycoach
I offer free resources on my website: juliepainrecoverycoach.com
At the end of the Blog I include a link to sign up for my newsletter, if anyone is interested that link is:

A quote saying "be kind to yourself and one step at a time" by Julie Hughes, Pain Recovery Coach

My clients tell me that they want to get back to moving, walking, and ________you fill in the blank.

I say GREAT! ?Let?s do it.

However they feel stuck and worried because when they do certain movements, or activities their pain increases.

One way we work together is by designing a plan for that certain activity or movement, we call it pacing and graded exposure.

You can try this by finding your baseline. ??This is the amount of activity you can do and know that you won?t have a setback. ?A setback is an increase in your pain that leaves you feeling angry, desperate, and afraid to move.

Try asking yourself this question: How long can I ______ before I have a setback? ??Fill in the blank with the activity or movement you want to do more of.

Here is an example:

How long can I stand and wash the dishes before I have a setback?

I can stand and wash the dishes for 30 minutes but I will pay for it the next day.

Can I stand and wash the dishes for 20 minutes without a setback? ??

No, I will still pay for it.

Can I stand and wash the dishes for 15 minutes?

I don?t think so, especially really dirty pots and pans.

10 minutes washing dishes, no pots/pans


5 minutes washing dishes, no pots/pans


So for standing and washing dishes your baseline would be 5 minutes with no pots/pans. ??You can use this process for each activity you want to add back in (graded exposure) and/or ?do more of (pacing).

** Remember talking to a family member, going out to a party, or going to a school function are all activities too.

Once you have your baseline, now it?s time to plan out your progression.

I help my clients plan out each week their progression without exceeding the limit until they reach their goal. ?Each week is planned ahead of time so there is no temptation to push on and break your commitment to yourselves.

This is important because many of my clients, myself included, would like to do more than was planned because we were feeling great. ?You know what I mean right, ?I will just do 10 more minutes, I am feeling awesome!?…oops…BUSTED! Another setback! We learned the hard way. ?We found ourselves back in the Boom-Bust cycle! This left me feeling angry, frustrated, defeated, and annoyed.

This Boom-Bust cycle is a trap and will keep you stuck. ?This is why patience, persistence, courage, and commitment are required. ?I think trust is important too! I had to trust that by doing a little each week, I would get to where I wanted to be. ??It worked for me and I don?t see why it can?t work for you. Be kind to yourself and take one step at a time.

With ongoing pain, our alarm system becomes sensitive so it can be difficult to completely avoid a setback during this process. ?However, if you do have setback or ( you may call it a flare-up) DON?T beat yourself up. This setback is your nervous system protecting you and the best thing you can do during this time is be kind to yourself. ?Remember what you have learned about pain, don?t give up on yourself, and stay persistent. This is not a quick fix for the short-term this is THE quick fix for the long-term.

This is not simple though it may sound that way, it will be difficult at times. ?Find yourself a great support system, a positive support group, or someone who can cheer you on or coach you on your journey. ?Please reach out, that?s why I am here. Believe in yourself! You can do this!!

Every Friday I send hope, encouragement, support, and self-management ideas to help you on journey directly to your inbox. To sign up for the pain recovery newsletter click here and receive your free gift.

A huge thank you to Julie for writing this Guest Blog post – and of course, for being my very first Guest Blogger.

If you’d like to write a Guest Blog for Notebooks and Glasses, please visit my Work with Me?page and get in touch.

Other posts you may like

Why it’s important to trust your physiotherapist

I’m finally having some proper physio

My physio session: a spanner in the works

The day I cried at my needling appointment

Thank you for reading


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8 thoughts on “I have a Pain Recovery Coach as my first ever Guest Blogger!

  1. Erin - Unbound Roots says:

    I love the pacing and graded exposure idea! I can relate, not in a pain sort of way, but in a digestion way. I was very sick with Celiac disease in the years 2012 and 2013, and I had to re-learn to eat many different foods as many caused stomach flares. I had to do a sort of pacing and graded exposure to bring my food tolerance back to normal (tomatoes, peppers, sugar, etc.) so I wouldn’t continue the negative reaction to many foods. I can see where this practice would be helpful with pain too.

    Excellent guest post!

    • Alice says:

      Thank you for your super feedback on this post. Julie certainly makes a lot of sense, doesn’t she. I hope things have improved for you since 2013.

      • Julie says:

        Thank you Alice! This has been a huge help for me though took me some time in changing my mindset. I am that type pf person that starts something and then has to get it done right then and now! I am learning that it is OK to do a little then save some for later. πŸ™‚ especially when it comes to yard work.

    • Julie says:


      Thank you for sharing your experience with how you implemented this with food. This is very good to know. Thank you for reading.

    • Julie says:


      Thank you for your comment and reading. Yes, this is challenging especially on the days we are feeling awesome and want to keep going. I encourage you to give it a go if you are finding yourself in this cycle with a certain activity or movement. Please reach out with any questions or guidance. You can do it.

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