Constantly feeling pain is no way to live and can have serious debilitating effects on your everyday life. Whether your pain has just come on or you have lived with it for years, there are certain things you can do to help bring yourself some relief. Try one or a combination of the following and see what works best for you in our top ways to remove pain…
Get some gentle exercise
Many who suffer with chronic pain feel exercise would do more harm than good. In fact, simple, everyday activities like walking, swimming and gardening can help to ease your pain. Not only does it stretch stiff and tense muscles, ligaments and joints, but it can also directly block pain signals to the brain. Remember that it’s natural to feel hesitant before you first exercise but take it slowly and soon you’ll be reaping the benefits. If you are in any doubt, speak to a medical professional and they can help you devise an exercise plan.
Practice breathing techniques
Another way to help remove pain is to practise breathing techniques. When your muscles are tense, they tighten and increase pressure on nerves, tissues and areas of pain, which in turn can make your pain worse. Learn breathing techniques which can help to relax you and your muscles, easing pain at the same time. The best breathing techniques involve focusing on deep breathing. Here is a quick 5 step guide to get going:
1) Make yourself comfortable and loosen any tight clothing.
2) Breathe through your nose, holding your hands on your stomach and breathe deeply
3) Hold your breath when you have inhaled as much as you can
4) Relax your stomach muscles and exhale
5) Repeat this taking slow, deep breaths
Get enough sleep
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep when looking to alleviate your symptoms. Sleep deprivation has been found to make pain worse, so ensure you have a good sleeping routine. While it can be hard to sleep if you are in pain, there are a few things you can do to make it easier.
- Keep to regular sleeping hours going to bed and waking up the same time each day
- Be sure to create a restful sleeping environment; this involves controlling the temperature, light and noise so it is the optimum level for you to get the best nights rest
- Cut down on caffeine, other food and alcohol before sleep as it can interrupt your sleep pattern
- Ensure you have a comfortable bed to sleep in
Learn to relax / Try CBT
Deep breathing, as mentioned above, is one way to get your body to relax and aid in removing pain, but there are also many other things you can try. By practicing the following relaxation techniques regularly, you can help to remove pain that is persistent.
- Progressive muscle relaxation – this involves tensing and relaxing each muscle in turn (unless it hurts, then you leave that one out.)
- Relaxation imagery – make yourself comfortable, concentrate on your breathing and focus on your favourite place in the world. Allow yourself to focus on all of your senses in that space, from what you can touch, smell, hear and taste – your mind will be completely distracted from your pain and your body will relax.
- CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). CBT is a form of talk therapy which can help you to identify and develop skills to change negative thoughts and behaviours. You can do this at home or with a professional and you will find yourself relaxing and your chronic pain hopefully reduced.
Meditation has been shown to help remove pain from those who are suffering. It does this by showing us we can remain aware of what we are experiencing in the present moment without having to accept or reject it, and that even in the midst of chronic pain there are periods of well-being too. Meditation can help improve emotional resilience and reduce tension, lessening chronic pain. Studies have found that individuals in a particular study who meditated experienced less distress and dealt with pain more effectively than those who used traditional pain-relieving medication and techniques.
Get a massage
A massage is an effortless way to help reduce your pain. Massages cause two main changes in your body – the relaxation response which is an involuntary response of the nervous system to massage techniques and the Mechanical responses which are the physical effects that occur when pressure is applied to certain areas of soft tissue on the body. The relaxation response is a state when your heart, breathing rate and blood pressure decrease and your levels of serotonin can increase putting you in a state of calm and relaxation which can reduce pain mentally. Physically, a massage improves circulation which can improve tissue function and absorption of excess fluids, reducing swelling in soft tissues. It will also relax your muscle tissue to reduce painful contraction and spasms.
Give Acupuncture a Go
Acupuncture is a centuries-old Chinese method of pain relief which involves the insertion of extremely fine needles to the skin at specific points. This releases endorphins and stimulates nerve-rich areas of the skin surface to instigate responses from organs, tissues and glands that can help to remove pain. An acupuncture session can last anywhere between 60-90 minutes and this includes time spent discussing your symptoms and concerns you might have with your practitioner. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone responds to acupuncture differently and while some many experience improvements instantly, it can take a few sessions for others to gain any benefits.
Don’t push yourself in day to day activities
It can be easy to over-exert yourself in your day to day life, particularly if you have a demanding schedule, or don’t want your injury to impact how you live so you try to ignore it. While this can feel productive, it can have the opposite effect and leave you in even more pain than before. Be careful not to overwork yourself and learn that saying “no” to things is perfectly ok and not a sign of failure.
Find ways to distract yourself
Distraction doesn’t reduce pain directly but is a great way of taking you to a place where it isn’t so prominent in your head, giving you some respite. Think of hobbies or activities you enjoy and let yourself be taken somewhere else mentally for a while. Whether it is reading, playing video games, coloring or doing a puzzle, as long as it is taking your mind off of your pain it is working!
Take a look at your diet
When it comes to ways to remove pain, your diet is often overlooked. It’s often underestimated just what an impact your diet can have on your health and is a vital way to remove pain. Modify what you eat to include a plethora of anti-inflammatory foods like green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, fruits like strawberries, blueberries and cherries and nuts and Omega-3 fatty acids which are often found in salmon and tuna.
These are just some of the top ways to remove pain. Work through them and find out which work the most effectively for you.