Pill-Free Ways to Erase Your Pain

By , Alyssa Shaffer, Woman's Day
Head hurts? Thankfully, there are a slew of tactics to try to feel better before you hit the pharmacy. From jamming to your favorite tunes to patching up the pain, these methods will work wonders.

The psychologist says…Listen to your favorite music

Your brain is your body's mission control for pain, and you can train your mind to become less sensitive to discomfort. A study in The Journal of Pain found that when people concentrated on a specific melody, they felt less pain. Part of what's happening is distraction: You become engaged with the music instead of focusing on the ache. You can also try other techniques like deep breathing (inhale for a count to six, then exhale slowly), which helps relieve tension in your muscles that can intensify soreness. Using these coping strategies regularly can gradually increase your pain tolerance.

GERALYN DATZ, PhD, behavioral medicine specialist, Hattiesburg, MS

The pain researcher says…Consider acupuncture

New research involving nearly 18,000 people found that almost half who were treated with acupuncture said their pain improved—and many patients were still feeling better up to two years after the sessions stopped. Acupuncture may help your body release endorphins, which can work to dial down discomfort. In the study, weekly or twice-weekly sessions for at least two months seemed most effective for back, neck and shoulder pain as well as arthritis and migraines. Many health insurance plans now cover acupuncture, so check with your carrier.

ANDREW J. VICKERS, PhD, statistician, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
 
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