Pain Management

How Can Self-Managing Your Condition Improve Your Response to Medication?

Written by Carron Manning, Co-Founder of Chiron and Chartered Physiotherapist MSc BSc MCSP

Self-managing a chronic condition can positively influence an individual's response to medication in several ways. 

Let’s start with what self-management means. In general, it is our ability to manage our behaviours, thoughts and emotions in a conscious and productive way. This can be in regards to work or personal life, fitness, new skills or knowledge and even medication. 

So, while medication adherence is a crucial aspect, self-management involves a broader set of skills and behaviors that contribute to overall health and well-being. Let’s see how self-management can improve the response to medication.

How self-management can improve response to medication

Firstly, self-management includes being responsible for adhering to the prescribed medication schedule. Consistent and timely medication intake is essential for achieving optimal therapeutic outcomes. However, you also need to understand the purpose of taking the medication and the possible side effects so that you are motivated to stick to the plan as well as recognise and report side effects promptly.

This leads us to the point that if you are self-managing, you are monitoring your symptoms and overall health regularly - such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, or symptom patterns. This awareness allows individuals to assess how well their medications are working and whether adjustments may be needed, then in turn be more proactive in communicating with their healthcare providers. Which would lead to more facilitated discussions about medication effectiveness, potential issues, and necessary adjustments. 

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Typically when you self-manage, you tend to be more educated about the chronic condition and its treatment, empowering individuals to actively participate in their care. Educated patients are more likely to understand the importance of medication adherence and follow their treatment plans. This then leads to a reduction in medications used to alleviate acute symptoms - as the underlying factors are being managed proactively, the need for ‘rescue’ interventions may decrease. 

All of the education and awareness leads to an increase in a much healthier lifestyle. This includes everything from balanced nutrition to regular exercise and stress management. These lifestyle factors can complement the effects of medications and contribute to overall well-being. When individuals feel more in control of their health and engaged in their care, it can positively influence their response to medications and treatment plans. 

All of these open the door for stress reduction, improved mental health, and coping with treatment challenges. Self-management, including stress reduction techniques and mental health support, contributes to a positive mindset, which can, in turn, enhance the overall response to medication and your ability to manage fatigue, costs, and other barriers. 

When self-management is a major part of your lifestyle, you will also get pretty good at setting and achieving health goals. Achieving these goals, whether related to lifestyle changes or specific health outcomes, can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation for continued adherence to medications.

Self-management and overall wellbeing for medical management 

While self-management is not a replacement for medical guidance, it complements medication management by fostering a holistic and proactive approach to living with a chronic condition. Individuals who actively self-manage their conditions are more likely to experience positive health outcomes, feel more in control and have a better response to prescribed medications. Now who wouldn’t want that? 

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