Brief Pain Coping Skills
Stretching: Allowing a muscle or muscle group to gradually and slowly become full length by using an opposite muscle to pull, or using a wall or gravity to help the muscle release. Can be as brief as 10 seconds, but a bit longer is better, 30 seconds, or a few minutes. For example bending forward to stretch the back, laying on the floor and allowing the knees to fall to one side to stretch the side muscles of the back.
Relaxing: In a comfortable position, laying down, sitting or even standing, breathing slowly (6 to 10 breaths per minute) and allowing muscles to let go as you exhale and feel more limp, warm, and heavy. Can add a relaxing thought, or image, or word as you exhale. Relaxing can be as short as a few slow breaths (sitting at a traffic light, in traffic, at work, at a family gathering), and up to 20-30 minutes long (after lunch, during a family gathering).
Pacing: Doing any activity or chore only up to a level below a significant increase of pain. For example if walking 10 minutes causes significant greater pain, only walking 8 minutes. If washing dishes for 20 minutes causes pain, wash dishes for 15 minutes, and relax, or do something in a different position until pain subsides (read, walk around the room, stretch).