7-Step Chronic Pain Management Plan

Organize your pain management plan around these 7 pain relief strategies.

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You can't get chronic pain relief with a single treatment. It takes a combination approach. First step: work with your doctor. But don't stop there. Try every trick in the book to relieve pain until you've developed a comprehensive action plan that works for you. From adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine to using massage or acupuncture for pain, check out this array of pain relief remedies.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

Food for Pain

2 / 8 Food for Pain

Can foods fight pain? Some might, if you combine them with an overall healthy, antioxidant-rich diet. Early findings suggest that certain foods high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and C, and polyphenols have the potential to circumvent pain-triggering mechanisms in the body. They can also boost bone density, build muscle, protect cartilage, and stymie pain-aggravating weight gain.

Break Habits That Make Pain Worse

3 / 8 Break Habits That Make Pain Worse

Can bad habits amplify what hurts? They might. Unchecked weight gain, out-of-control stress, and poor sleep are just a few lifestyle factors that top the list of pain-aggravators. But it's easy to do something about such ache-inducers.

Fight Pain with Exercise

4 / 8 Fight Pain with Exercise

Coping with chronic pain every day can certainly erode your motivation to exercise. But you'll feel better if you keep moving. Why? Because a regular exercise routine can loosen stiff, achy joints and muscles; boost production of endorphins, your body's natural painkillers; and prevent excess pounds from creeping on and making your pain worse.

Body Mechanics and Body Pain

5 / 8 Body Mechanics and Body Pain

Can everyday activities intensify chronic pain? They can if you don't perform them safely. In fact, your posture and biomechanics can either make or break your chronic pain management plan. For example, that one-hour back massage won't help if you slouch at your desk the very next day and reignite your pain. So, whether you're driving the car or lifting a potted plant, mind how you use your body.

Tender-Loving Pain Relief

6 / 8 Tender-Loving Pain Relief

You can find pain relief from a pill bottle, sure—but that isn't the only place you should look. Take tender loving care of your chronic pain symptoms with a host of do-it-yourself pain remedies like ice, heat, and analgesics, or mind-body techniques like tai chi, deep breathing, and yoga.

Ask About Pain Therapies

7 / 8 Ask About Pain Therapies

Need more help easing your aches and pains? Start by asking your doctor about hands-on therapies and which are best to augment your pain management plan. Discover whether massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, or physical therapy can help your chronic pain.

Partner with Your Doc to Fight Pain

8 / 8 Partner with Your Doc to Fight Pain

Getting a handle on chronic pain requires more than a one-time visit to your doctor's office. It needs an ongoing partnership—one in which you work together to proactively monitor your symptoms and medication side effects, and then tailor pain management plan to effectively reduce chronic pain symptoms.

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