Being plagued by chronic pain can negatively impact every area of a person’s life. Simply getting out of bed and preparing for the day ahead can be an arduous undertaking for someone who’s trapped in the grips of ever-present discomfort. Holding down a job can also prove tremendously difficult, particularly if it involves physical labor of any kind. Even after the workday has come to an end, you’re liable to have a hard time unwinding if your pain refuses to let up. Not surprisingly, chronic pain can be a tricky issue to treat. Depending on the source of the pain and the affected area(s), there may no definitive cure for your discomfort. Fortunately, even if it can’t be definitively treated, chronic pain can often be effectively managed. If you or someone you care about is struggling with unmanaged chronic pain, the following tips may come in handy.

1. Learn Relaxation Techniques

Many chronic pain sufferers are able to find temporary relief through meditation and deep breathing exercises. The exact mechanics of relaxation techniques vary, but most of them involve lying on your back and taking deep breaths – in through the nose, out through the mouth. Unfortunately, if your pain is severe enough, it can be difficult to muster up the concentration needed to pull off these techniques. If you’re having trouble tuning out your pain long enough to reach a relaxed state, consider enrolling in a meditation class. Classes in meditation can be found in virtually any city or township, and a number of them are specifically targeted at chronic pain sufferers. Alternatively, if you’re unable to attend a class, consider checking out one of the many informative books or online tutorials on the subject. Anyone who’s curious about how best to deal with pain management should be well-versed in relaxation techniques.

2. Find Ways to Distract Yourself

When chronic pain is constantly nipping at your heels, concentrating on other things can be a tall order. However, engaging in activities that take your mind off your affliction has been proven helpful in managing chronic pain. Suffice it to say, effective distraction techniques vary from person to person. Some chronic pain sufferers are able to distract themselves through entertainment – that is, watching television shows and movies they enjoy, playing video games and reading books. Others have found success with activities that involve interacting with others – i.e., conversing with friends and family members, taking classes and visiting public places. The more engaged your mind is with pleasurable activities, the less likely you are to concentrate on your pain, even if it is still very much present. To ensure that you’re covered in the event of an unexpected flare-up, make sure to keep a mental checklist of effective distractions handy.

3. Attend Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an absolute must for many chronic pain sufferers. Attending regular sessions can make your body stronger and more limber, thus making it easier to go about your daily life and perform certain tasks. There are a number of options for people in need of physical therapy: sessions can be attended at healthcare facilities, pain management clinics and rehabilitation centers. Some healthcare providers even offer at-home physical therapy for people whose chronic pain prevents them from leaving their residence. The types of exercises you’ll perform and your overall regimen will be determined by your therapist, who will have an advanced understanding of your unique affliction. Even if your therapist wants to gently ease you into a regular routine, you’re likely to experience considerable discomfort throughout your first few sessions. However, once you’ve gotten into the groove of regular exercise, you should have a much easier time of it.

For people suffering from chronic pain, performing the simplest tasks can be an uphill battle. Not surprisingly, being plagued by unyielding discomfort can take a heavy toll on people, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, there’s no end-all, one-size-fits-all-solution to this problem. Although chronic pain is a temporary inconvenience for certain individuals, a sizable number of people are stuck with it for the rest of their lives. However, this isn’t to say that their situation is hopeless. Even if a person’s chronic pain can’t be stamped out entirely, there’s a good chance it can be managed. Anyone looking for effective ways to treat chronic pain is urged to consider relaxation techniques, engaging distractions and physical therapy.