Skip to main content
Get Care MyChart Find a Provider Find a Location


Do you want to stop fighting your chronic pain and start focusing your energy on living your best life? Get started with these pain-management techniques!

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation involves the use of thinking to reduce or eliminate tension from the body and mind. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you are to sleep and breathe better and feel less stress, anxiety and pain. Relaxation methods can be as easy as:

  • Taking a nap
  • Using guided imagery
  • Soaking in a warm bath
  • Reading a book
  • Meditating
  • Watching a funny movie
  • Doing body scanning
  • Praying
  • Getting a massage
  • Singing
  • Going for a walk
  • And calling a friend

Anti-inflammatory foods

Eating nutritious foods gives your body what it needs to run smoothly and feel good. When you fuel up with nourishing items, you tend to have more energy, feel less tired, reduce your chances of developing certain health conditions and feed your brain, which can help with life's emotional ups and downs.

If you have chronic pain, it's important to eat a balanced and varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, protein and whole grains. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids—sometimes called good fats—also may improve pain caused by inflammation. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, Arctic char, anchovies, trout, flaxseeds and walnuts are all high in omega 3s.

Physical activity

Regular exercise has consistently been shown to be the most important thing you can do to manage chronic pain. It improves the ability to do normal activities; reduces pain, tenderness and fatigue; increases muscle strength; and improves function. Even just short periods of moderate activity can boost your health and lessen pain.

It's important, however, to figure out the right balance between activity and rest for you. Try to find activities that you can do and pinpoint how long you can do them without experiencing a significant increase in pain.

Positive thinking

What you say or think to yourself is called self-talk. The way you talk to yourself is influenced by how you think about yourself. Negative self-talk can make the pain and other symptoms worse. On the other hand, positive thinking and self-talk works by changing negative statements into more positive, realistic ones and can be a tool for coping with pain.

Medications and other treatments

Sometimes you cannot manage pain directly unless you use medications or other treatments recommended by your healthcare provider. Medications can be an important part of managing chronic pain, but they cannot cure it. Medications are used to relieve symptoms, prevent further problems, improve or slow the progress of a disease and/or replace substances that your body no longer produces adequately.

It's important to talk to your provider about how long you need to take a medication before deciding whether it's right for you. Other treatments your healthcare provider might suggest may include acupuncture, injections, physical therapy and psychological therapies.

Want to learn more about how to manage chronic pain?

Check out the Healthy Living with Chronic Pain workshop. During the six-week virtual workshop, participants build self-confidence in their ability to manage their pain and learn:

  • Strategies for understanding and managing pain
  • Short-term goal setting
  • Gentle movement and stretching exercises
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Stress and depression management
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends and your medical team
  • And much more

Get the details


    Related articles

    5 ways to kick the common cold

    5 ways to kick the common cold

    If the thought of congestion, sniffling and body aches is your worst nightmare, have no fear—there are plenty of simple steps you can take to keep yourself healthy and avoid
    5 signs your body is saying see an orthopedic surgeon

    5 signs your body is saying 'See an orthopedic surgeon'

    Aches and pains in your bones, joints and muscles are a normal part of life, especially as we age. So, how long should you grin and bear it before seeing
    why losing a few pounds can make a big difference on your joints

    Why losing a few pounds can make a big difference on your joints

    Our Orthopedics staff offers a wide range of surgical and non-surgical treatments and can connect you with physical therapists, nutrition experts and other specialists to help you make meaningful change
    person touching painful heel

    Is my heel pain from plantar fasciitis?

    Plantar fasciitis is aggravation and inflammation of the connective tissue joining the heel bone to the major structures of your foot. Try these tips from Gundersen experts to begin easing

    1900 South Ave.
    La Crosse, WI 54601

    (608) 782-7300

    Language Support:
    Jump back to top