10 Steps to Ease Chronic Pain


by By Kelly Constant /


Posted on April 15, 2009 at 8:53 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 12 at 1:53 PM

About the Author

Kelly Constant is a certified personal trainer, licensed massage therapist and wellness coordinator for The Regence Group in Oregon. She creates and administers wellness programming, designs specialized exercise programs for employees, and provides ergonomic assessments and support.

The treatment of chronic pain often involves medication or therapy. But lifestyle changes can also help you manage chronic pain. Talk to your doctor, then try these 10 steps to ease or eliminate your pain.

  1. Exercise: Seek the advice of a personal trainer adept at working with your particular issue to help you determine which exercises you need. Strength training can help you maintain muscular balance and give you the strength to perform everyday tasks without pain.
  2. Stretching: Some chronic pain manifests because muscles are tight and an imbalance in the tissue exists. Regular stretching will help keep the right muscles elongated and relaxed. Yoga and Pilates are good options to try as long as your doctor has given you authorization and your instructor is aware of and familiar with your phsycial issues.
  3. Massage therapy: Massage works in much the same way as stretching by relaxing and lengthening tight muscles. Neuromuscular Trigger Point therapy can be especially effective for office workers dealing with tight shoulders and necks.
  4. Hydration: Some chronic pain can be eased by properly hydrating. Research shows that low-back sufferers usually benefit the most. Headaches can also be relieved with proper hydration.
  5. Decrease stress: Tension headaches are one example of how stress can lead to pain. As we become tense, our muscles tend to tighten and contract, which often leads to discomfort. If chronic stress is an issue then it is also more likely that you are suffering from some sort of chronic pain. Deep breathing is one way to help alleviate stress. Other remedies include exercise, massage, meditation, etc.
  6. Take breaks: Sitting at a computer all day is not a natural position for the human body. If forced into one position all day, the body can react with chronic pain. Taking frequent breaks will increase circulation and decrease stiffness in the muscles and joints.
  7. Create community: Research suggests that having a strong social network can decrease stress and thereby ease pain. Join an organization or club to start making new friends.
  8. Meditation: Meditation can help reduce stress levels, which can help to decrease chronic pain.
  9. Sleep: When you're sleeping, your body is in the parasympathetic mode, which is where natural healing responses occur. In order for imbalances within the tissue to heal, sleep is vital. Six to nine hours of sleep is recommended, depending on the person.
  10. Acupuncture: The National Institutes of Health finds that certain types of chronic pain can be treated with acupuncture. Fibromyalgia is one example of a painful chronic condition that can be treated with this therapy.