Health & Wellness Articles

Sweet Relief: Simple Pain Relief Strategies

8 Ways to Treat Chronic Pain

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It looks great in the movies: A depressed person dealing with serious pain or sudden injury pain pairs up with an intuitive physical therapist, motivational physician or insightful therapist. After a few sleepless nights and a little "hard work" to get better, their pain magically resolves as they realize that a positive outlook is all it ever really took. If only that’s how it really worked.

Most people with chronic pain know that life is a little more complicated than the movies. Even as people learn new ways to alleviate pain, they struggle to balance them with the demands of professional and personal lives. Sure, you could do your physical therapy routine every day, but who would organize mom’s birthday party? Or you could spend time chilling out before bed, but who would bathe and tuck in the kids? Even grabbing a few minutes to exercise can feel impossible when you’ve already put in a full day at the office—and a full day dealing with pain.

Below are some tips for keeping it simple and finding little ways to weave pain-fighting habits into your hectic life, as well as guidelines for getting started.

Exercise
Your doctor says you should do it. Your friends invite you to do it. You even want to do it. So, why aren’t you at the gym right now? Exercise is one of the toughest feel-better hurdles to surmount because it’s a delicate balance: Not enough exercise leads to pain, but so does too much exercise.

Gentle exercise can get you on the right track, increasing your ability to move fluidly, perform everyday activities and tackle each day with a sense of optimism. It can also help you address some of chronic pain’s unhappy friends, including fatigue, insomnia and depression.

If you’re getting off the couch for the first time, or the first time in a long time, start very, very slowly. Don’t worry about government guidelines just yet. Instead, look at your current activity level, and add just a few minutes of gentle exercise. Try a short walk, a brief swim, a few minutes on a stationary bike or just do some basic stretching or seated yoga.

When you use yourself as a benchmark, you’ll soon see progress.

Relieve Stress
Living a low-stress life is an elusive goal for many, but stress levels can contribute to muscle tension, raising your day-to-day pain. Stress preys on our mind-body connection, too, lowering pain tolerance and effectively making the same pain feel worse and worse.
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About The Author

Robin Donovan Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and magazine journalist with experience covering health, medicine, science, business, technology and design.

Member Comments

  • Article was spot on for several things, let me add a few more - along the lines of heat - for a pretty low cost your local drug store/super store might have some of these things - a paraffin dip for hands and feet, a foot bath with heater and massage, some chilies for tea. The heat sends out the endorphins and can be better than a glass of wine with much less calories.
    TENS machines are a winning both for pain and headache distraction (people that hate these, you have them turned up too high, just gentle nudges).
    In bed slow exercises in the morning before your feet ever hit the floor. Gentle, super gentle. Rub down your whole body to get blood flowing and keep a heat pad near by to deal with areas in the night that are numb and tingling. You need to set you clock 20 minutes earlier to get this done. But so worth in.
    Dance in your dreams. When you go to bed at night allow your brain the luxury of seeing yourself moving, doing your favorite thing. Dream the dream that things can get better. - 5/23/2015 3:23:38 AM
  • An informative article. I would have to pick and choose which ones I would try. Hypnosis is completely out of the question. Setting the alarm on my phone wouldn't work, either, because if I'm really busy with a project, I'd either ignore it, or be tempted to throw the phone across the room. - 3/10/2015 10:26:03 AM
  • Thanks, this is a great article! I loved the comprehensive information, especially that you mentioned hypnosis. A lot of people get relief from that. You might have added something about acupuncture, it's becoming very widely used. My nurse practitioner referred me to an acupuncturist and it was paid for by my insurance. Thank you for all the great tips! - 3/9/2015 10:27:05 AM

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