How do you manage pain when it strikes? Do you reach for a bottle of pain relievers? The following strategies you can use on their own or in combination with pain relievers. These strategies are to breathe, distract, identify, and use temperature therapy.

Breathe

Aside from breathing being a life promoting function, it can also provide relaxation. I recommend box breathing. To start get into a comfortable position. This position may be sitting upright in a chair or lying down on your back or side. Start by inhaling for a count of four (1-2-3-4). Then hold your breath for a count of four (1-2-3-4). Now exhale for a count of four (1-2-3-4). Hold your breath again for a count of four (1-2-3-4). Think of this like a box. As you inhale you travel up the box. As you hold you go across. As you exhale you go down. As you hold again you go back across the box. Repeat this breathing five times. For more breathing techniques check out Life Emblem’s pages about pain and stress.

Distract

Have you ever found that the more you think about your pain the more it hurts? Distraction is a great technique to decrease the extent you feel pain. Talk to a friend or family member. Engage in activities you are passionate about. Keep yourself busy. Even listening to music can help.

Identify

Uncertainty about why you have pain causes anxiety. In turn anxiety increases the extent of your pain. Thus, identifying why you have pain erases the uncertainty and the impact on your pain. Also different causes of pain need different treatments. For example pain from muscular, cardiac, and gastrointestinal feels very similar. These causes all need different treatments. Identifying allows use of the right treatment.

Temperature Therapy

Temperature therapy includes using cold and heat. I use cold and heat bags. Use cold when your pain is from an acute injury, inflammation, or swelling. Use heat when your pain is muscular or you have stiffness. Only leave heat and cold on for 15-30 minutes and wrap the bag in a towel to prevent your skin from burning or freezing.

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