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Non-Drug Options for Easing Pain
There are a number of non-drug tools for coping with pain. They can be used on their own or in combination with drug therapies.
Some of the options patients have found helpful include:
- Massage. A lot of people find relief from gentle massage, and somehospice agencies have volunteers who are trained in massage therapy. Several studies have found that massage is effective in relieving pain and other symptoms for people with serious illness.
- Relaxation techniques. Guided imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback, breathing techniques, and gentle movement such as tai chi. Relaxation techniques are often very effective, particularly when a patient -- or a caregiver -- is feeling anxious.
- Acupuncture. Several studies have found that acupuncture can be helpful in relieving pain for people with serious illnesses such ascancer.
- Physical therapy. If a person has been active before and is now confined to bed, even just moving the hands and feet a little bit can help.
- Pet therapy. If you have bouts of pain that last 5, 10, or 15 minutes, trying to find something pleasant -- like petting an animal's soft fur -- to distract and relax yourself can be helpful.
- Gel packs. These are simple packs that can be warmed or chilled and used to ease localized pain.