What is Pain? 5 Ways You Can Manage Your Pain

Date:  January 3, 2018


Spine, muscle and nervous system pain has many causes including physical trauma, poor posture, repetitive motion, overuse, and wear and tear. The pain may be so severe it keeps you from falling asleep, leaving you fatigued and unable to focus on simple tasks.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce spine, muscle and nervous system pain:

  1. Exercise: Physical activity—which helps to increase strength, flexibility, and joint mobility—is an important aspect of overall health and can help reduce your pain.1 Exercise also lubricates the joints by encouraging fluid to circulate. Exercise also increases blood flow, which means more nutrients are being delivered to body tissues, which aids in the healing process. Non-weight bearing exercises (such as swimming) are especially recommended to manage arthritic pain. Be sure to ask your chiropractor for recommended exercises and stretches. You can also check out our Back Care Tips with exercises and technique advice (for sports and daily activities) that help the whole body.
  2. Spinal Manipulation: Recent studies have shown that spinal manipulation can reduce back pain and increase function.2 Many patients experience improved range of motion and report immediate pain relief from manual therapy. Talk to your chiropractor to see if spinal manipulation is right for you.
  3. Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been shown to be clinically effective in treating pain, particularly low back and shoulder pain.3 This is one tool that many chiropractors incorporate into their practice to offer more complete care to patients.
  4. Behavioural therapy: Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing long-term1 Relaxation and coping techniques can help reduce muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate. Reducing your level of stress can also be helpful. Try these 4 Techniques to Help You Manage Stress.
  5. Medication: Some medications have been shown to be beneficial in the management of chronic pain.1 However, with some types of medication, there is a risk of addiction. Starting treatment plans that don’t involve the use of medications—like any of the first four mentioned above—are a good first step to managing pain before beginning any sort of pharmaceutical treatment. If you are considering medication, talk to your family doctor to find out more.

Chronic pain can be managed many different ways beyond the five listed above. It’s important to consider all avenues before approaching treatment with medication (for more information on the importance of reducing opioids in pain management, check out this report by the Coalition for Safe and Effective Pain Management). If you have any questions, visit your local chiropractor to see what option works best for you.



1John P, Revord M. Invasive Pain Management Techniques. Spine-health. 2017. Available at: https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-management/invasive-pain-management-techniques. Accessed December 11, 2017.

2Paige NM, Miake-Lye IM, Booth MS, et al. Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2017;317(14):1451-60.

3Acupuncture for Managing Chronic Shoulder and Lower Back Pain: A Review of Optimal Frequency. CADTH website. 2017. Available at: https://www.cadth.ca/acupuncture-managing-chronic-shoulder-and-lower-back-pain-review-optimal-frequency. Accessed December 11, 2017.