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Published on September 23, 2020

older man holding his neck in pain

Manage chronic pain with these 6 tips

Have you ever felt drained or exhausted from dealing with constant pain? If so, try the following tips to help you save energy and get back to enjoying what's most important to you.

Learn relaxation techniques

Meditation and deep breathing promote relaxation, which may ease pain. Meditation encourages you to focus on your breath, ignoring your thoughts. Repeating a word or phrase also can help. Deep breathing can be done anywhere. Simply get into a comfortable position and imagine a spot slightly below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then slowly let it out.

Reduce stress

Stress intensifies chronic pain, so finding ways to reduce physical and mental pressure is important. Negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, stress and anger, can increase your body's sensitivity to pain. Create moments of calm by listening to soothing music or practicing guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation.

Exercise

Moving your body releases mood-boosting brain chemicals while blocking pain signals. If pain makes it difficult to be active, start small. Talk with your provider about appropriate ways to add more movement into your day. The more you move, the more you can strengthen your muscles and potentially prevent injuries and pain.

Attend a workshop, support group or an educational event

Learn ways to manage your chronic pain and meet others who are in similar situations through offerings in your community or online. One option includes the free Healthy Aging Conference "Preventing and Managing Chronic Pain" on Oct. 8. At the event, which will be held virtually from 8 a.m. to noon, experts from Gundersen Health System will cover a variety of topics to help you better understand how you can keep chronic pain from controlling your life—or the lives of your loved ones. Learn more or register online today.

Eat nutritiously

A diet deficient in fruits and vegetables may increase inflammation in the body and cause or worsen pain. Opt for more fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains; cut out foods with added sugar and those that are processed. Drinking more water can help, too!

Distract yourself

Focusing on pain can make it worse rather than better. Instead, find something you like doing that keeps you busy and your mind on other things.

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