Do you experience chronic pain? Have you been examined by your physician as well as a specialist and nothing has helped? Research shows that these 12 tips may reduce the intensity of both physical and emotional pain.
Positive Imagery: Close your eyes and imagine going to a relaxing place where you feel peace and happiness. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you hear? What do you feel? You may be near the beach and feel a light breeze and smell the salty air or you may be in a beautiful green field and smell the fresh flowers and hear the gurgling of a nearby brook.
Focused Breathing: Take deep slow breaths. Focus on the air going in and out of your nose or mouth. Turn your focus from your pain to your breath. “The Journal of Neuroscience” published a study in 2011 that showed a 40% decrease in the intensity of pain and a 57% decrease in the unpleasantness of pain by focusing on breath rather than pain. This retraining the brain to stay focused on breathing rather than the pain took time and practice, but was often accomplished without the help of a professional.
Mental Anesthesia: Imagine a pain reliever being injected into your most painful spot. Close your eyes. Imagine the relief.
Create a relaxing environment and appeal to your senses: Shift your focus from the pain that you are feeling to your other senses. Dim the lights, put on soothing music, burn a candle with a sweet-smelling aroma, suck on a mint, sit in a comfortable chair. Be mindful of what you are seeing, smelling, hearing, and tasting.
Tai Chi: This is a form of Chinese martial arts that emphasizes deliberate slow movements. Studies have shown that Tai Chi has helped relieve pain associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Exercise: Getting physical releases endorphins which are brain chemicals that improve your mood and lower your stress.
Distraction: Find something you enjoy doing to distract yourself from your pain. If you begin to focus on your pain- be mindful and return your focus back to the enjoyable activity.
Get a massage: Relaxation helps decrease pain.
Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol may decrease your pain temporarily, but it also impacts your sleep. You may wake up tired, irritable, and hung over in addition to your pain that has returned. This often leads to a desire to drink more alcohol which can lead to addiction.
Join a support group or find a qualified professional for consultation: Now that you have spent time learning to refocus your attention away from your pain, you may need some time to discuss what you are going through. You may also learn other coping strategies.
Biofeedback: Find a professional trained in biofeedback. Through biofeedback the mind learns to control bodily functions. This often helps with pain.
Healthy diet with plenty of water: Give your body the nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. Poor diet and dehydration can trigger and increase pain.
Warning: Please consult your physician before beginning Tai Chi or any other exercise program. Depending on the location of your pain, you may need to consult a physician before getting a massage.
Science Daily: Tai Chi Exercise Reduces Knee Osteoarthritis Pain in the Elderly, Research Shows
Spine-Health: 11 Chronic Pain Control Techniques; Block, Andrew R. Ph.D
“The Journal of Neuroscience”; Brain Mechanisms Supporting the Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation; Fadel Zeidan, et al, April 2011.