The Sounds of Advice #31: Pain Management Skills

Pain management skills:

Aisling: Try to move around some everyday. It's been said a body at rest tends to stay at rest & a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Moving around will help keep your body healthy. 

Medicate when needed & be sure to drink plenty of water. Also eat healthy so your body is getting the nutrients that it needs. 

If the pain is unmanageable see your doctor.

Sandy: Depending on the pain start with Advil, tylenol or something like that. Try that for a day and see how you feel, if that doesn't work you can talk to your Dr to see if he can suggest something else to help. If the pain is bad enough, you should seek medical attention.

Kate: This hits home for me on a very personal level, living with chronic pain due to nerve damage. It is a struggle on the daily just to cope with it. Here's a list of tips and tricks to try.

Altered focus: This is a favorite technique for demonstrating how powerfully the mind can alter sensations in the body. Focus your attention on any specific non-painful part of the body (hand, foot, etc.) and alter sensation in that part of the body. For example, imagine your hand warming up. This will take the mind away from focusing on the source of your pain, such as your back pain.

Dissociation: As the name implies, this chronic pain technique involves mentally separating the painful body part from the rest of the body, or imagining the body and mind as separate, with the chronic pain distant from one’s mind. For example, imagine your painful lower back sitting on a chair across the room and tell it to stay sitting there, far away from your mind.

Sensory splitting: This technique involves dividing the sensation (pain, burning, pins and needles) into separate parts. For example, if the leg pain or back pain feels hot to you, focus just on the sensation of the heat and not on the hurting.

Mental anesthesia: This involves imagining an injection of numbing anesthetic (like Novocain) into the painful area, such as imagining a numbing solution being injected into your low back. Similarly, you may then wish to imagine a soothing and cooling ice pack being placed onto the area of pain.

Mental analgesia: Building on the mental anesthesia concept, this technique involves imagining an injection of a strong pain killer, such as morphine, into the painful area. Alternatively, you can imagine your brain producing massive amount of endorphins, the natural pain relieving substance of the body, and having them flow to the painful parts of your body.

Transfer: Use your mind to produce altered sensations, such as heat, cold, anesthetic, in a non-painful hand, and then place the hand on the painful area. Envision transferring this pleasant, altered sensation into the painful area.

Age progression/regression: Use your mind’s eye to project yourself forward or backward in time to when you are pain-free or experiencing much less pain. Then instruct yourself to act "as if" this image were true.

Symbolic imagery: Envision a symbol that represents your chronic pain, such as a loud, irritating noise or a painfully bright light bulb. Gradually reduce the irritating qualities of this symbol, for example dim the light or reduce the volume of the noise, thereby reducing the pain.

Positive imagery: Focus your attention on a pleasant place that you could imagine going - the beach, mountains, etc. - where you feel carefree, safe and relaxed.

Counting: Silent counting is a good way to deal with painful episodes. You might count breaths, count holes in an acoustic ceiling, count floor tiles, or simply conjure up mental images and count them.

Pain movement: Move chronic back pain from one area of your body to another, where the pain is easier to cope with. For example, mentally move your chronic back pain slowly into your hand, or even out of your hand into the air.

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