A family walking outside as an alternative pain relief therapy

Alternative Pain Relief Methods for You

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If you’re in pain, it may be a good idea to explore your pain relief options, including therapies that complement or provide an alternative to pain relief medication. If you're already taking over-the-counter or prescription pain relief medication, you may want a bit of extra relief without resorting to more medicine. We’ve compiled this article for you as a starting point to explore alternative pain management methods, so you can get back to being yourself, joyfully....

Pain is an uncomfortable (to say the least!) physical sensation that often shows up to indicate that something isn’t quite right. This “something's wrong” could range from a broken bone to an aroma that is irritating your sinuses to more serious illnesses. Pain can be described as aching, throbbing, stabbing, pinching, and another a myriad of other ways, depending on how you experience it, as it highly individual.

Chronic pain, or pain that lasts for three months or more, differs from acute pain, or the temporary type of pain you may feel from an injury or strain. Chronic pain is pain that has outlasted normal healing time. Chronic pain often doesn’t serve a purpose in keeping you immobilised in order to prevent further injury. In other words, it’s no longer there to let you know “something’s wrong.” It often is residual pain from an underlying condition such as osteoarthritis, or a past injury, and is no longer a warning sign, the way acute pain is. That’s why finding alternative pain relief methods can be so fruitful in these cases.

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Why alternative pain relief therapies?

Pain can affect your lifestyle, relationships, and even your profession. In fact, pain can make you pull away from the people you love and from activities you enjoy - 75% of pain sufferers felt that their social life was impacted due to their pain.

It can make you retreat into yourself, in both major and minor ways. Maybe you used to meet with friends for a night out, but have found yourself saying ‘no’ because it’s too uncomfortable getting in and out of the car to get there. Or maybe it means you cook less food you enjoy because opening cans and jars has become too difficult.

75% of pain sufferers felt that their social life was impacted due to their pain

Pain can also hamper your quality of sleep. Being sleep deprived has ties to poor short- and long-term health markers and decreased mental well-being.

Some painful conditions can’t be cured. However, finding a pain management regimen – which can include alternative pain treatments – is necessary to maintain your quality of life. In this situation, toughing out the pain and trying to 'grin and bear it', isn’t necessarily the best course of action especially when the pain isn't a warning sign but instead a condition. Exploring alternative pain relief methods may be just what you need to get you living life to the fullest again.

Alternative pain treatments, alongside over-the-counter pain treatments, can be helpful in reducing dependence on prescription painkillers.

Alternative pain relief methods

Alternative pain relief methods and therapies are any treatment or intervention that supplements or replaces conventional Western medications.

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Support braces

Support braces can be helpful for relieving pain in an injured or damaged area, whether that be from a chronic condition, from injury, or surgery. Support braces can reduce swelling and can be helpful in keeping joints stable and aligned so that no further pain is caused by unnatural movement or gait.

Some support braces come in ready-made sizes. Others can be custom fitted to you. If you are just starting out with support braces, you may want to opt for a ready-made model to try it out first and see if you like it.


Massage is a superb way to relax and indulge in some self-care. It can also be a powerful tool for alternative pain management. You may choose to book an appointment with a licensed massage therapist or engage in some self-massage at home. Massage can be performed with varying degrees of pressure. Keep in mind that a massage doesn’t need to be painful to be therapeutic. So, kick your feet up and enjoy.


Some studies have shown that yoga is effective at reducing pain, though the mechanisms that make this true remain unclear. No matter. If it reduces your pain, we like it!

Women sits on her yoga mat - an effective way of reducing pain

Taking a yoga class can be beneficial in expanding your circle of support as it gets you out of the house and in conversation with other people with at least one similar interest (yoga!). Support systems such as this can be especially helpful when managing pain, which can be isolating. Another added bonus to yoga is that it can help with weight management, which can be beneficial for managing and even reducing pain. So, go ahead! Learn some yoga poses and start moving that body (gently, of course!).



Biofeedback is a type of mind-body technique that uses electrical sensors to provide you with information about your body’s biological responses, such as:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Muscle contractions
  • Perspiration

Your therapist might use a variety of biofeedback methods depending on your health problems and goals. Biofeedback can be used to address both physical pain and the emotional responses to it, like anxiety or stress.

Using feedback received during biofeedback therapy, you can practice targeted relaxation techniques - like relaxing certain muscles or slowing your breathing – using your body’s real-time results as a guide. This type of relaxation and mindfulness connection can put you on the path to more joyful movement.

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Treatment by pain type

Learn all about the causes, symptoms, and pain treatments for the type of pain you’re experiencing so you can get back to doing those little things that bring you joy.