Health & Wellness Articles

29 Proven Methods to Manage Aches & Pains

Self-Care Tips from Chronic Pain Sufferers That Really Work

Many people struggle with pain. Whether it's short term from an injury or chronic due to disc issues, neuropathy or Fibromyalgia, we all want to find relief. Pain clinics and medical interventions are great places to begin, but some pain sufferers look for additional ways to find relief that don't always involve drugs, appointments or doctor visits.
We recently asked members of, the largest healthy living and fitness website in America, how they deal with chronic pain. Here are some products, strategies and insights into what our members rely on that could help you, too.
29 Ways We Ease Pain (that Can Help You, Too!)

1. "A positive attitude, although it is extremely hard to have, is a good start. Having a negative attitude certainly doesn't get us anywhere."

2. "I like to give myself an ice massage. I use a small paper cup to make it easy to hold ice and then apply it with a light pressure for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off."

3. "When I listen to my body more closely, I know when it's time to rest or time to push. This helps me prevent overdoing it, which keeps pain at bay."

4. "Try to take it one day at a time, asking for help when you need it. Each day is different from the next so don't assume today will be bad until it proves to be."

5. "I like to walk laps in a pool as a form of aqua/water therapy and exercise that's easy on the joints."

6. "Listening to relaxation tapes helps me relax and takes my mind off the pain."

7. "Soaking in a hot bath in a whirlpool tub or even a hot tub does wonders. I like to add Epsom, sea salt or ginger to a hot bath as well."

8. "I regularly use my TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) unit. It's a pocket size, battery-operated device that sends mild electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals. Some say it can even raise the level of endorphins (natural pain killers) in the body. It does wonders for me!" Note: TENS units should only be used under the direction of a qualified healthcare provider.

9. "Join a chronic pain group for support and ideas. Being able to vent or talk to people who know what you're going through can really help."

10. "Try acupuncture or acupressure treatments. These alternative forms of therapy are becoming more widely used. I was skeptical at first, but found they helped me relax, removed tension and reduced pain."

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Member Comments

  • I exercise every single day doing a number of stretching moves in order to ease back pains due to sciatica. Just 6 to 7 minutes religiously every morning, and I'm pain-free for the day! - 8/7/2014 3:24:26 AM
  • I think it depends on the type of pain you are walking around with. I have arthritis which can have good and bad days. The thing that has really helped me is when I do my PT on a regular basis and seeing my massage therapist at least once a week. - 8/5/2014 3:09:03 AM
    One more comment -
    I am an overweight person, so I should be able to say this with minimal offense. A major contributor to pain is carrying too much weight for your frame. It puts additional stress where it wasn' t meant to be. So, weight loss could definitely help pain management. Sadly, if you go to a doctor, that is often the ONLY thing they focus on and a number of other options could also be contributors. But don't overlook this one.

    Okay, one MORE comment, lol.

    Are your legs the same length? If they aren't the same length, every step you take contributes to possible back pain. Measure their length with a measuring tape from your belly button - or better yet, have somebody professional measure it for you. Even 1/4" can make a difference, and you can do a simple remedy of wearing an insert in your shoe to create balance. - 8/4/2014 2:46:09 PM
    I've had serious ankle pain for 10 years (5 surgeries, most recently a complete ankle replacement). For people with pain from walking on an injury, most people will tell you to stay off of it. Well, you can't do that for 10 years. My advice is to baby it when you must, but for the most part, get on with life and do whatever is normal as much as possible. If you sit and focus on the pain, the pain is worse. If you get up and get on with it, your mind doesn't think about the pain - and it may as well not be hurting at all. Of course, that has to be balanced with not overdoing it.

    My other big tip - and I discuss this often with family - is to address your sleeping position. Sure, a good mattress is important. But so is the way you position yourself. If you sleep on your side and throw one leg over, your hips are out of alignment with your back and voila you wake with back pain. If your shoulders are hurting, that could be from pain radiating from the neck, so you need to provide proper neck support with your pillow. I find that a VERY thick heavy king sized pillow is wonderful along your back (much like the back of a couch) and another one is good as an arm support to assure your shoulder is not being slumped forward and causing pain. - 8/4/2014 2:41:03 PM
  • Thankfully, Essential Oils and herbal remedies work as well! - 8/3/2014 9:38:45 PM
  • Homeopathy does not work. It is diluted to such a degree that there isn't any of the ingredient left. It's basically water. - 8/3/2014 10:58:46 AM
  • There is so much good information here. Thanks to everyone. - 8/3/2014 5:43:42 AM
  • After tearing my shoulder muscle, and also after the repain surgery, I found that the TENS was a big help.
    Also I have found that moving joints that hurt (in a manner that does not put stress), and stretching have helped me tremendously, both with my shoulder, and also with my bad knee. - 8/3/2014 5:30:47 AM
  • I first read this article in early April, and did not truly believe that any of these would work for me. I had been very inactive for a long time due to severa ailments. It had also become clear that the only way to control my blood sugar or choleserol levels was physical activities. I had avoided stronger pain medications for years and was ready to give in, just so I could excercise. I was often afraid to move - I thought it would make it worse. That"s why I decided to just keep moving. When I have to sit with feet elevated (due to lower leg swelling) I do "butt dancing" or keep moving my arms. When I am seated at the computer I strecht as I type. I started wih the 10 minute challenge and had to do it 100 steps at at a time (I figured out that 3 trips down my hallway and back was equal to 100 steps. Yesterday morning when I woke up I realized hat I was pain free. This does not mean that the neuropathy, osteoarthritis, shoulder impingement or RLS has gone away - it just means that I can move and not make it worse. I truly believe that you must "Move or Lose It". - 7/4/2014 8:09:28 AM
  • Very useful ideas. Everybody has a mishap now and then. - 4/6/2014 11:03:38 AM
  • Thanks Sparkers for all of the helpful info! I've had Neuropathy for about 5 years & no doctors, including specialists, know why. Their best guess is that it may have been caused by being pre-diabetic & as I lose weight it will hopefully go away! I am excited to talk to my doctor about some of these things ecspecially the Tens unit! If anyone has any other ideas for Neuropathy please advise!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!! - 1/10/2014 3:51:46 PM
  • Useful ideas! I especially like the whirlpool soak idea. My husband and I always try to book hotels with whirlpools when we travel (not often enough, alas) and a good hot soak is so comforting. Also great after a workout. My gym has one but it is often packed with people with the same idea. - 12/19/2013 10:03:45 AM
  • At the recommendation of my FNP, I started on an anti-inflammatory diet. I had no idea that food could cause inflammation! I did a lot of research and started the plan. The arthritis in my hands is now almost non-existent and the pain from my recovering knee is very minimal. As a bonus, I've lost 18 pounds. Much better than medication! - 12/18/2013 9:45:12 AM
  • Pain from some rashes can be aleviated by various tricks to cause "nerve confusion". For example, with poison ivy rashes, the itching pain can drive one to scratch - but scratching can introduce infection from dirt and bacteria in your fingernails, or even into your lymph nodes, causing a systemic reaction. Try this common trick - sit or stand in the warmest shower and as you get warm , gradually add hotter water to the areas of the rash and gently rub in circular pattern. Keep rubbing and getting the water gradually hotter and hotter (be careful not to actually burn the regular skin with no rash on it.). After 15-20 minutes you should find the itchy areas finally stop itching enough for you to enjoy several hours of itch free relief (get some rest then so the body can work to fight off the underlying causes of the itch and pain.). - 10/27/2013 1:36:38 AM
  • 5. Laps in pool is fantastic for those that are able to get to one. Nothing like it. Especially a heated therapy pool..for those who have arthritis.
    6. Relaxation tapes get on my nerves...they make me so nervous cause my body refuses to relax when I force it too. Go in a darkened room, just sit back, maybe play some of your favorite slow music and let your body do it's own thing.
    7. Hot tubs maybe OK for some people..but my advice is to check with your Dr. before going in one. At the Health Center where I use to go..I saw people going in one, and thought I 'd give it a try. My body had an immediate was then that the life guard asked if I had high blood pressure or heart trouble or some other stuff...after that they put a sign up warning people with such conditions not to go in.
    8.Personal TENS units are good. for moderate pain..but speaking from personal experience..when the pain is really don't even feel the unit and it no longer works. I set mine to full and can't even feel it, like you should...doesn't help anymore. Even the one in the chiropractors office has to be set high to help a little. So it all depends on the pain level.
    12 . Great for those that can move around...but there are those who the more you move, the harder it hurts and the only way to ease off the pain to bearable is to not move. Simple things like trying to make a quick microwaveable meal, or washing dishes, or putting the dogs out, forget vacuuming the floor..can cause excruciating pain to the point of taking your breath away..which leads to having to take more pain meds.. So all depends on how bad you are.
    14. Biofeedback - for those that can afford it, or have insurance that pays for it.
    15 Pain patches can interfer with certain meds, but sure to ask the Dr. first. Also if the pain area is extensive and spread out over the body, you'll look like a walking patch.
    16.Pilates- Un-doable for a lot of people with different conditions.
    17. Restful nights sleep of 8 hours is fantastic....just tell the body to quit hurting long enough t... - 10/11/2013 5:19:29 PM

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