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10 tips to help cope with persistent pain

Learn more about pain.

Understanding how ongoing pain differs from acute pain (pain that comes and goes) can give you the confidence to explore other ways of managing it. Try looking at the links below to increase your knowledge.


Re-start activity and movement

When we experience pain it often stops us from doing the activities we might enjoy and we might move differently, sit differently and stand differently in an effort to be more comfortable. Often this leads to what we call deconditioning, where movement is decreased, joints are stiff, muscles aren’t as strong as they once were and sensations are altered. Starting to get the body moving again, improving body awareness and re-establishing a sense of confidence may be difficult at first. Chronic and persistent pain are most often NOT associated with an injury or tissue damage, even if it began with an injury. People find that they become fearful of movement (and increasing pain) and that this then increases avoidance of movement and expectation of pain. Starting to move well again is very important in order to return to the things we enjoy and value.


Relaxed breathing.

Concentrating on your breathing when you're in pain can help. When the pain is intense it's very easy to start taking shallow, rapid breaths, which can make you feel dizzy, anxious or panicked. Instead, breathe slowly and deeply. This will help you to feel more in control and keep you relaxed and prevent any muscle tension or anxiety from making your pain experience worse.


Distract yourself.

Shift your attention on to something else so the pain is not the only thing on your mind into an activity that you enjoy or find stimulating. Many hobbies, are possible even when your mobility is restricted. Watch a film or enjoy music, be kind to yourself.


Keep in touch with friends and family.

Do not let pain mean that you lose contact with people. Keeping in touch with friends and family is good for your health and can help you feel much better. Try shorter visits, maybe more often, and if you cannot get out to visit people, phone a friend, invite a family member round for a tea or have a chat with your neighbour.