How to Get Rid of Pain

Three Parts:Using Natural Remedies and Alternative MedicineApplying MedicationsLessening Pain through Lifestyle Changes

In general, there are two types of pain. Acute pain is pain that lasts for as little as a few seconds to as long as a few weeks. It generally signals that your body has suffered some sort of injury or infection. Chronic pain lasts longer and may continue even after the original injury healed. There are many ways to relieve pain, including medications, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes.[1] Be aware that pain may not be controlled even if you follow all of these recommendations. It is important to have reasonable expectations for pain management.

Part 1
Using Natural Remedies and Alternative Medicine

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    Apply heat. This is particularly good for areas of the body that are stiff or tight.
    • Fill a hot water bottle with hot water and then wrap it in a towel. Don’t apply it directly to your skin. You don’t want to accidentally burn yourself!
    • The warmth will increase circulation and blood flow to the area.
    • This is particularly good for sore or tight muscles, stiff backs, or menstrual cramps.
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    Soothe the pain by putting a cold pack on it. This will numb the pain and also help reduce swelling.
    • Use an ice pack or a package of frozen peas. Wrap it in a towel so the ice doesn’t touch your skin directly.
    • Apply the ice for 10 minutes, then allow your skin to warm up so you won’t be at risk of frostbite. You can apply the ice again later in the day.[2]
    • This will help hot, swollen, or inflamed joints, bruises, or other minor injuries.
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    Try herbal remedies. Though not rigorously tested, some people report that they may help. Do not use herbal remedies without consulting your doctor if you are pregnant.[3]
    • Ginger may help reduce inflammation.
    • Feverfew may help headaches, stomachaches, and toothaches. Pregnant women cannot take this.
    • Turmeric may help reduce inflammation, help arthritis, and reduce heartburn. Do not take this if you have gallbladder disease.
    • Devil’s claw. This may help for arthritis or back pain. Do not take it if you have gallstones, stomach ulcers, or intestinal ulcers. Pregnant women cannot take this.
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    Get acupuncture. Acupuncture is a procedure in which thin needles are inserted into various points in your body. How it relieves pain isn’t completely understood, but it may stimulate your body to release a natural pain relieving chemical, called endorphins.[4]
    • Many pain relief clinics offer acupuncture. Be sure to go to a place with a good reputation. Ask your doctor for a recommendation.
    • The needles will be sterile, pre-packaged, disposable and very thin. You will feel a prick when they are put in. They will be left there for up to 20 minutes.
    • You may need more than one session to experience maximum effects.
    • Acupuncture is effective at reducing symptoms of headaches, menstrual cramps, back pain, osteoarthritis, pain in the face, and some digestive issues.
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    Take control of your pain with biofeedback. During a biofeedback session, the therapist connects you to sensors which tell you how your body is reacting physiologically. You then use this information to concentrate on making physical changes in your body.[5]
    • People can learn which muscles they are tensing and relieve pain by learning to relax them.
    • Bio feedback can give you information about muscle tension, body temperature sensors, sweat responses, and your heart rate.
    • Go to a reputable therapist who is either licensed or works under a doctor. If you purchase a home device, be wary of devices that make unrealistic promises. They may be scams.
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    Try functional electrical stimulation. In this method, a computer sends small electrical pulses into your body through electrodes which cause your muscles to contract. Benefits may include:[6]
    • Greater range of motion
    • Less muscle spasming
    • Increased strength
    • Reduced loss of bone density
    • Better blood circulation

Part 2
Applying Medications

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    Try topical pain medications. You can rub them directly into the place where it hurts. There are different types with different active ingredients.[7]
    • Capsaicin (Capzasin, Zostrix). This is the substance that makes chili peppers spicy. It prevents your nerves from effectively sending pain signals.
    • Salicylates (Aspercreme, Bengay). These creams contain aspirin, which relieves inflammation and pain.
    • Counterirritants (Icy Hot, Biofreeze). These creams have menthol or camphor which will give you the sensation of warmth or cold.
    • These medications are often used for reducing joint pain.
    • Always read and follow the instruction labels. Consult a doctor before using them on children or if you are pregnant.
    • Look out for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing.
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    Reduce inflammation with over-the-counter medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications prevent the body from making the chemicals that cause inflammation. Common medications include:[8]
    • Aspirin (Anacin, Ascriptin, Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin). Do not give aspirin to children under 19.
    • Ketoprofen (Orudis)
    • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, Medipren)
    • Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
    • These medications can be effective for reducing pain due to osteoarthritis, muscle aches, backaches, tooth problems, gout, menstrual cramps, joint pain due to fever, or headaches.
    • Always follow any instructions on the warning label. Do not take these medications if you are pregnant without first consulting a doctor. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction.
    • Consult a doctor if you are on other medications that might interact.
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    Go to the doctor if you have an infection or injury that you cannot treat at home. The doctor can prescribe treatment to help you heal and medications to reduce your pain.
    • See a doctor for physical injuries like sprains, broken bones, or deep cuts. The doctor can bandage it, put a cast on it, or sew up the cut so it will heal properly. If you need prescription strength painkillers, your doctor can prescribe them.
    • Get medical attention if you have a serious infection. This includes severe respiratory infections like pneumonia or bronchitis, infections of the ears or eyes, sexually transmitted diseases, severe abdominal pain that may be indicative of an abdominal infection, etc. The doctor will prescribe strong antibiotics. You will feel better as soon as the antibiotics start killing the infection.
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    Discuss medications with your doctor. If nothing else works and you still have severe pain, your doctor may prescribe more powerful drugs like morphine or codeine.[9][10]
    • These medications are addictive. Use them only as prescribed.
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    Combat chronic joint pain with cortisone shots. These shots are usually given directly into the painful joint. They usually contain a corticosteroid and local anesthetic.[11]
    • This can be effective for conditions such as gout, arthritis, lupus, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and others. [12]
    • Because these shots can damage the cartilage in the joint, they are only given, at most, three or four times a year.[13]
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    Discuss taking antidepressants to relieve your pain. Why it works isn’t fully understood, but these medications may increase the chemicals in your spine that decrease pain signaling.[14]
    • It may take a few weeks before they provide relief.
    • They can be helpful for treating arthritis, nerve damage, pain from spinal injuries, pain from strokes, headaches, back pain, and pelvis pain.
    • The antidepressants most frequently prescribed for pain are the tricyclics.

Part 3
Lessening Pain through Lifestyle Changes

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    Rest. When you are still, your body can direct more energy to healing. Give your body time to heal by getting enough sleep each night. Try to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.[15]
    • Abstain from strenuous exercise like jogging while your body heals.
    • Avoid emotionally stressful events. The physiological changes your body goes through when you are stressed can slow the healing process.
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    Get physical therapy. If your doctor feels that this would be helpful, he or she may be able to recommend someone who specializes in treating your condition. Physical therapy can help you use exercises to:[16]
    • Strengthen weak muscles
    • Increase your range of movement
    • Heal after an injury
    • This is often effective for musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary and other conditions.
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    Control your emotions with relaxation techniques. Pain can induce anxiety, stress, depression, and anger, all emotions which can cause physical changes in your body, like muscle tension. Try relaxation techniques to calm yourself. Methods include:[17]
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    See a psychotherapist. Seeing a psychotherapist will help you understand your emotions and deal with them.[18][19]
    • It you have physical manifestations of emotional stress, like muscle tension creating pain, this may help you to identify that and to prevent it.
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    Try cognitive behavioral therapy. This is an evidence-based therapy which helps people to overcome challenges or deal with pain they cannot avoid. Studies show that CBT is helpful for conditions such as chronic back pain.[20] The therapist will help you:[21]
    • Identify what is causing you pain
    • Become aware of your beliefs about your situation.
    • Identify ways that your thoughts may be self-defeating
    • Encourage you to form different, proactive thought patterns to make better choices in your life


  • Always read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on over-the-counter medications.
  • Consult your doctor before using over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, or supplements, especially if you are pregnant. Also consult a doctor before giving them to children.
  • If you are already on other medications, ask your doctor before you add a new medication, even an over-the-counter medication, herbal remedy, or supplement. It could interact with your current medications.
  • Do not mix alcohol with medications.
  • Ask your doctor whether your medications may make it inadvisable to drive.
  • Some medications may have negative effects if you use them for long periods of time. Do not use medications longer than instructed on the packaging without discussing it with your doctor first.

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Categories: Pain Management and Recovery