Distraction takes attention away from pain. When you focus on something else, you are not as aware of the pain. Distraction is based on the idea that attention to one tas k limits the attention given to another. Many things can serve as a distraction. Talking or watching TV can be distracting. Imagery is inner distraction. A person will mentally picture a pleasant image or event. Humor can be distracting. Music is often used to distract from pain. What will distract you is a personal matter.


Massage involves stroking or rubbing muscles and other soft tissues. Massage stretches and loosens muscles and tissues. This improves blood flow. It also removes poisons from the muscles and tissues. Massage also releases the body’s natural painkiller — chemicals called endorphins.


Vibration is a form of electric massage. When it is applied lightly, it may have a soothing effect similar to massage. It works best by producing numbness. Several types of vibrating devices are available. These may have different speeds. Some produce heat.


Relaxation is freedom from anxiety and from muscle tension. Pain and stress cause muscles at a pain site to tighten up. This in turn causes more pain. Relaxation will loosen muscles, which will decrease pain. Relaxation produces chemicals called endorphins. They are your body’s own pain relievers. There are several ways to reach a relaxed state. Some of them are listed here, such as distraction and massage. It is a good practice to try to make time to relax every day.


When you feel pain you may be reluctant to exercise because you thin k it will cause you to feel more pain or worse pain. A minimal amount of exercise is good, even if you have pain.

• You feel better about yourself.

• It increases your overall mobility.

• It produces chemicals in the body called endorphins and enkephalins. These are your body’s own natural painkillers, and their job is to reduce pain.

• It strengthens weak muscles.

• It mobilizes stiff joints.

• It helps keep the heart healthy.

• It helps maintain an appropriate weight.

Rules for exercising:

• Find exercises that are right for you. Walking, riding a bike, and swimming are just some of the exercises that are good for you.

• When you first start exercising you may hurt a little more. This is natural. Unused muscles will be sore at first.

• Take care with exercises. Learn how to “listen to your body.”

• Keep as active as you realistically can; your body is designed to move.

• Stop if you feel a sharp or new pain.

• Don’t rush through your exercises. They should be done in a calm, steady manner, with awareness of how the movements affect your body.

Increase your enjoyment — try exercising, or just moving, to slow, relaxing music.



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