5 Ways to Tame the Pain

 Consider these complements to a conventional medical approach:
  • Diversion techniques, such as visualization and guided imagery training shift your attention away from the pain. Even music and aromatherapy have been shown to reduce pain sensitivity through distraction.
  • Biofeedback, relaxation, controlled breathing, meditation, and self-hypnosis teach you to respond to pain with mental relaxation. They help you learn to ease your muscles rather than tense them, which increases pain.
  • Cognitive restructuring helps curb negative thinking such as “This will never get better; nothing works!” – in favor of more realistic thoughts – “Yes, I had a pain flare. I’ve had them before and they don’t last forever.”
  • Activity pacing helps you gradually increase your tolerance for activities by understanding your limits, alternating moderate periods of activity with rest, and stopping before the pain becomes severe. This halts a devastating cycle: Fear of pain leads to avoiding activities and a gradual loss of function, which then leads to more pain and disability.
  • Operant conditioning is based on the observation that pain behaviors – grimacing, moaning, limping, withdrawing from activities –  can become habitual because of the responses they elicit from your spouse or doctors. Along with teaching you coping skills, operant conditioning trains your partner or family members to reinforce efforts you make toward coping and self-management, rather than reward negative behaviors.

Pain Organizations for Patients

Pain Organizations for Professionals