Ask Us Answers - Focusing in School

Q: It’s hard to focus in school when my pain flares. However, I am in a challenging program and don’t have time to take a break. How do I pace myself?

Many adolescents and young adults with chronic pain are very smart, high-achieving students and they struggle to manage both academics and chronic pain flares.  Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, in most cases the most effective approach is to develop a schedule that allows you to pace yourself on a daily basis, with enough time to use your pain coping strategies and prioritize sleep.  If the schedule and pace you need isn’t easily developed, don’t give up!  Academic changes can usually be supported through a medical 504 plan or accommodations via the office of student disabilities.  Using this pacing may mean that the student takes a different course load and may even have a different graduation schedule than their classmates, but in the end they get to the same goal and are much healthier in the process.

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