The first step in coping with chronic pain is to receive a thorough medical evaluation to determine the cause of pain. Once a medical diagnosis has been made, there are a number of effective strategies for coping with chronic pain. These techniques include:
- Relaxation training.Relaxation involves concentration and slow, deep breathing to release tension from muscles and relieve pain. Relaxation training can help you focus your attention away from pain and release tension from all muscles.
- Biofeedback.Biofeedback is taught by a professional who uses special machines to help you learn to control bodily functions, such as heart rate and muscle tension. As you learn to release muscle tension, the machine immediately indicates success.
- Visual imagery and distraction.Imagery involves concentrating on mental pictures of pleasant scenes or events, or mentally repeating positive words or phrases to reduce pain. This technique may include simple activities, such as watching television, reading a book, or listening to music.
- Hypnosis.Hypnosis can help reduce your perception of pain. A state of hypnosis can be administered by a therapist or the technique may be self-induced.