6 Natural Ways To Manage Pain
There are quite a few mental tricks that can help fight pain—such as visualization, positive mantras, distractions, controlled breath, meditation, and even food fantasies. Studies have continuously shown that you can use your mind to help better manage pain, and these techniques described below can be used for both acute and chronic pain.
Activating pressure points. Using self massage or simply putting pressure on painful areas can help, according to Ellen Slawsby, PhD, director of Pain Services at the Benson Henry Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. However, although Slawsby suggests this as a beneficial technique for tension headaches and muscle pain, she cautions against continuing to massage an area that seems to worsen from touch.
Positive thinking. According to Janice M. Singles, MD, PsyD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, “somebody’s thinking is very powerful and very important to the management of pain.” In fact, one study found that cognitive behavioral therapy, along with a self-help manual, helped patients find relief from pain, weakness, and dizziness. Instead of focusing on negative thoughts due to relentless pain—which can increase the pain, try to switch your focus to positive thought patterns.
Listening to music. According to one study, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain patients had subdued pain, depression, and disability with increased feelings of power from listening to music for one hour over one week. Other studies have also found that music has a similar effect on many people in pain, including those who are hospitalized, and those who suffer from anxiety.
Writing. Jotting feelings down on paper has also been shown to help relieve pain for many people, while improving immune function. James W. Pennebaker, PhD, suggests taking some time to write before bed at least three to four days a week for 15 minutes.
Getting creative. Art therapy is a growing form of pain management, and certain hospitals have it as a dedicated therapy for children. But one study has found that this works for adults as well, and found that art therapy helped to relieve both psychological and physical symptoms in people with HIV/AIDS. The researchers also found that playing with art supplies such as glitter glue, yarn, beads, clay, and colored pencils also helped to relieve symptoms of anxiety and pain in cancer patients.
Laughing. According to one study, endorphins released from laughter work as nature’s analgesic, and yet another study conducted at UCLA found that children and young adults who watched funny videos were better able to tolerate pain while soaking their hands in freezing water.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.