April 7, 2010

Tips for Easing Chronic Pain

Contemplation, I Guess
bas relief painting
Robert Terrell, Lubbock, Texas

Relaxation exercises. Deep breathing, meditation, recalling pleasant memories, progressive muscle relaxation, letting your mind go completely blank, these are all methods for achieving relaxation. For more examples, click here.

Visualization is a powerful relaxation tool. Learn to visualize a peaceful and calming place. This exercise is sometimes called visualizing "special place" or "vacation place." It is especially therapeutic when you use deep breathing tools before you visualize and during.

Pleasurable Activities Choose activities that are pleasureable and take your mind off the pain: listen to music, paint or draw, meet up with an old friend, watch a movie that you associate with good feelings.

Keep a Diary of your pain. Also known as a pain journal. The more aware you are of when the pain intensifies the more in control of the pain you will be. (This will be of value to both you and your doctor.)

Cognitive Skills Try to minimize negative thought patterns. For example if a normal feeling is, "I don't want to do this project." Try changing that to, "I will feel much better when this project is done."

Stop and Rest. Listen to your body when it is telling you that it is tired or in pain. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and be sure not to over or under sleep.

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