Health & Wellness Articles

Sweet Relief: Simple Pain Relief Strategies

8 Ways to Treat Chronic Pain


Try this: One day a week, or even one day a month, set your phone alarm to go off each hour that you're awake. When you hear it buzz or ring, close your eyes for a few seconds, take a deep breath and exhale. Do it just once, or repeat for 5-10 breaths, which should only take a few seconds of your time. Then, move on with your day. You may find that the simple habit of stopping and checking in--even though it can seem like an annoyance--helps you reset and feel more present in your day.

Even the simplest habits, like a hot shower after a hard day, five minutes of sitting quietly or practicing a progressive relaxation exercise (imagine yourself relaxing piece-by-piece, from head to toe) can be hugely effective. Whether or not you feel immediate relief, you’re building a mindset of habitual relaxation that can ease pain over time.

Sleep Regularly
You probably don’t need a research study to tell you that it’s important to get enough sleep and that sleeping poorly can make you more susceptible to pain and a host of other health woes. But did you know that a negative mood can also contribute to sleeplessness?

If you only have a few minutes to yourself each day, try scheduling them right before bed so that you slip between the sheets with a smile and a positive outlook. Also, try to stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time each day, so that your brain and your body are ready for sleep.

Yoga and Stretching
As a part of your exercise routine, yoga and stretching can contribute to both physical fitness and relaxation, especially when combined with breathing exercises. A qualitative study of yoga and chronic pain found that Hatha postures in particular created a sense of acceptance and body awareness for pain clinic patients.
Try a local Hatha or gentle yoga class or use online exercise videos to carefully attempt a few basic poses. It’s best to enlist the help of a qualified and certified teacher to make sure you’re practicing the exercises correctly, especially if you have physical limitations, chronic injury or pain issues.

Try Medication
If pain is out of control--limiting your ability to sleep, contribute meaningfully to your social circle or be productive at work--it may be time for a heart-to-heart with a physician you trust. If you’re not established with a pain specialist, try a primary care provider first.
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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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