Managing Your Pain
An A-Z Guide
Resource developed with funding from the Victorian Government, and produced by the team at MOVE muscle, bone & joint health.
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Acceptance: You have pain - it doesn't have you Aids and equipment: Making your life easier
Breathing: Be conscious of each breath
Complementary medicine: Working alongside conventional medicine
Distraction: Shift your focus
Emotions: Let them out Environment: Your comfort zone
Fatigue: More than just tiredness Flares: Plan ahead
Goals: Stay focused and motivated Guided imagery: A tranquil daydream
Heat and Cold Help: It's okay to ask Hydration: More than H20
Information: Take an active role
Journaling: Keep track
Keep connected: Stay in touch
Laughter: The best medicine
Massage: Not just an indulgence Medications: Part of a good management plan Mindfulness: Be in the moment
Nutrition: you are what you eat
Ointments, creams, sprays, liniments, rubs and gels
Pacing: Know your limits Posture: Strike a pose Progressive muscle relaxation: A whole body experience
Quit smoking: And feel better
Quit smoking: And feel better
Reduce: Don't stop Relaxation: More ways than you think
Stress: A manageable part of life Support: Everyone needs it
Teamwork: There's strength in numbers
Understand: Your pain and your condition
Visualisation: Use your imagination
Weight management: For a healthy life
Exercise: Let's get physical
Your inner voice: Self-talk
If you live with persistent (or chronic) pain, you’re not alone. It’s a common and complex problem that affects 1 in 5 Australians.
The good news is there are many things you can do to manage your pain. This A-Z guide will give you new ideas to try and will help you look at things you’re already doing in a fresh light.
It’s important that you don’t rely on just one thing to manage your pain, but have a variety of strategies and tools you can call on when needed. This will give you more control over your pain.
That’s why we’ve provided lots of strategies in this guide for you to sample and practise.
An important note - many of the treatment options in this guide will require you to put in some time and effort before you notice long lasting effects. You’ll need to commit yourself to regular practise, but the rewards are great.
You have pain - it doesn't have you
Accepting that you have persistent pain – or the sort of pain that looks like it’s here to stay - is an important step to managing it more effectively. Acknowledging your pain and how it affects you from day to day means you can find practical ways to deal with it.
Acceptance doesn’t mean ‘thinking positive’. It means understanding that you have pain, but pain doesn’t define who you are.
By accepting you have pain, you take control. You’re using your energy to manage and control your pain.
Consider this example:
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Tomorrow you’re going on a trip with friends and you’ll be a passenger in a car for a few hours. You feel anxious about the trip and start to think about not going. All of your thoughts are focused on your pain - how the trip will make it worse and how you’re sure you won’t be able to enjoy yourself. But, by accepting your pain and taking control you can actively work on ways to manage it and still do the things you want to do. In this example, proactively managing your pain may include allowing extra travel time so you can stop for A MOVE MUSCLE BONE & JOINT HEALTH 2 stretch breaks, using supports (e.g. cushions) in the car to ease your pain, taking pain medication before you set off or distracting yourself from your pain by chatting with your friends. Or it may be a combination of all of these things. Whatever you choose to do, the end result is that you can enjoy the trip and have a great time with your friends. Your pain will still be there, but you’ve planned and used strategies to control it.