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Use Your Head to Ease Your Pain

By Sandy Schroeder

All of us have minor aches and pains from bumps, bangs or falls or chronic pain. If we need to, we see our doctor and use ice packs, heat or over-the-counter painkillers, but Harvard Health doctors say there may be other solutions.

Handling Pain in New Ways

The doctors suggest using mind/body therapies to change the perception of pain and more effectively handle it. These techniques do not eliminate pain, but they do help us handle it with relaxation, distraction and refocusing of our thoughts.

Try These Therapies to Relieve Pain

Consider these simple options.

Breathe deeply - When pain strikes, the breath may become shallow in short little gasps. Reversing the process, deep breaths can calm the mind and help you relax. Breathe in through your nose letting your chest and lower belly lift as you fill your lungs. Then exhale slowly through the mouth or nose.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) - As you talk with a therapist you will learn new ways to respond to chronic pain. Instead of tensing up, you can channel your reactions as you focus on other things. You might visualize your favorite place on the water or in your garden. As you think of that place remember how relaxed and happy you were there. A CBT therapist can help you develop this skill and use it whenever you need it.  

Relax head to toe - Progressive muscle relaxation starts with the face and works its way down the body. Tighten each muscle for 20 seconds and then gradually release the contraction. Notice how much tension goes away as you release the contractions. As the muscle relaxes, concentrate on the release of tension and the sensation of relaxation

Make meditation work for you - Pain may drop back when you use transcendental meditation repeating a single word or phrase. Or you may do a simple meditation. To meditate, find a quiet spot to sit, close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Ignore stray thoughts and continue to focus on your breath.

Break out the hobbies - If you enjoy decorating your home, working in the garden, or working out, now may be the time to spend some time exploring old or new hobbies. Learning to sketch or do watercolors, play the guitar, or create a quilt could go a long way to distract you from pain. 

Reach out to everyone - You may be surprised at how many of the people that you know are also dealing with pain. Trading tips, encouraging each other, and just staying in touch can be one more way to lift your spirits and distract yourself.

Research new solutions - Whatever your issues of pain are, you may be surprised to find out how much support can come from healthcare experts such as The Joint Chiropractic clinic in your neighborhood. Stop by and find out more about their affordable personal healthcare plans. Walk-ins are welcome.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spring, Tex.

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