Managing Pain
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upchuck.gif (3078 bytes)MANAGING PAIN WITHOUT DRUGS
(or in addition to drugs)


There are several techniques you can use to relieve pain without taking drugs or to enhance the effect of your pain medication -- relaxation, , imagery, distraction, and skin stimulation.


Relaxation relieves pain by easing muscle tension. Easing muscle tension can also help you feel less tired and anxious and help other pain-relieving methods work better.

How to relax.

  1. Sit or lie down, preferable in a quiet place. Be sure you are comfortable. Do not cross your legs or arms.
  2. Take a deep breath, and tense your muscles (you may tense up your whole body or concentrate on one set of muscles at a time, such as your facial muscles or those in your arms and hands).
  3. Hold your breath, and keep your muscles tense.
  4. Release your breath and your muscles at the same time. Let your body go limp (repeat for other muscle areas if you are concentrating on one set at a time).
  5. You can add imagery (see below) or music to help you relax. Relaxation tapes are also available.
  6. Don't be discouraged if relaxation doesn't help immediately. Practice the relaxation technique for 2 weeks before you give it up. If you find that it aggravates your pain, try another method.


Imagery involves using your imagination to create mental scenes that use all your senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. You can imagine exotic locations or revisit one of your favorite places. You can create stories and characters to add to your scenes. Imagery can take your mind off your anxiety, boredom, and pain.

How to use imagery.

  1. Close your eyes. A few moments of the relaxation technique (see above) will help your body and mind prepare for imagery.
  2. Let your mind begin forming it's image. The following is an example of imagery:
  3. Imagine that you are at the seashore. You are sitting in the wet sand; the afternoon sun is warm on your shoulders. The ocean rolls into the shore in gentle waves, and the water laps teasingly at your toes. A hungry pair of sea gulls cry overhead and take swift, darting dives at a dog that is scavenging along the shore. Your tension lessens with each wave that touches your toes and retreats. You close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath of salt-filled air. You are completely relaxed. Stay on the beach as long as you like.
  4. To end the image, count to three and open your eyes. Resume your regular activities slowly.


A distraction is any activity that takes your mind off your pain and focuses your attention elsewhere. Doing crafts, reading a book, watching television, or listening to music through headphones can all help distract your mind. Distraction works well when you are waiting for drugs to take effect or if you have brief bouts of pain. Sometimes people can take their minds off their pain for long periods, especially if the pain is mild.


Skin stimulation is used to block pain sensation in the nerves. Pressure, massage, hot and cold applications, rubbing, and mild electrical current are all ways to stimulate the skin. However, if you are undergoing radiation treatment, consult your doctor before applying any skin stimulation.

You can do skin stimulation at the site of the pain, near it, or on the opposite side of pain. For example, stimulating the left wrist when the right wrist is in pain can actually ease the pain in the right wrist.

Pressure. Using your entire hand, the heel of your hand, your thumb, your knuckles, or both hands, apply at least 15 seconds of pressure at the point where you feel pain. Keep trying spots around the painful area if you find no relief the first time. You may extend the time you apply pressure to 1 minute.

Message. You or someone else can perform the slow circular motions of massage. The feet, back, neck, and scalp can be massaged to relieve tension and pain any where in the body. Some people prefer to use oils or lotions during the message. If deep message is too uncomfortable try light stroking. Do not massage red, raw, or broken skin.

Heat and cold. Some people prefer cold; others prefer heat. Use whichever works best for you. A convenient way to use cold is to freeze gel-filled packs and wrap them in towels. Ice cubes can also be used. Heat can be applied with a heating pad; hot, moist towels; or a hot water bottle, or by taking a hot bath or shower. Be careful not to burn your skin with water that is too hot or to go to sleep with a heating pad on. Don't expose your skin to intense cold for very long.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. TENS can be used to eliminate or ease pain. A TENS unit is a pocket-sized, battery-operated device that provides a mild, continuous electrical current through the skin by the use of two to four electrode, which are taped onto the skin. Lead wires connect the electrodes to the device. It is the mild electrical current that blocks or modifies the pain messages and replaces them with a buzzing, tingling sensation. It is also thought that TENS may stimulate the body's production of endorphin, a natural pain reliever.

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

May God Bless You


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