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Chronic Pain Tips for Relief

Grief & Loss, Resilience, Spiritual Connection | 0 comments

Chronic pain can feel overwhelming. If you have chronic pain, I hope some of these tips can help you find some relief.

I have chronic pain myself, mostly brought on by trauma in 2016 and worsened by omicron in 2023. It’s mostly manageable and then out of nowhere I get those pain flares. It can suddenly be super intense or last extra long. Let me just validate for you that chronic pain can be pretty exhausting.

FYI I am not a medical professional or therapist. This is not medical advice. I am simply a healer and someone who suffers from chronic pain, tracks that pain and also tracks what works (and what doesn’t) for relief, apart from any medication, supplements etc.

Here are a few tips for chronic pain relief, and please feel welcome to share your own in the comments.

Remember you are not your pain.

Remind yourself that your pain isn’t who you are but rather a part of your experience. If your pain is in multiple places or literally everywhere, I know that can feel like a huge lie but it’s the truth. Pain may affect you in different ways but it is not you. However, your body is the messenger, so it can feel like that pain is your whole world sometimes. Find even just one tiny spot on or in your body that is not feeling pain right now. Get as creative as you need to. When you can show your brain that your whole self is not the pain but that parts of you happen to be experiencing pain, it will help you remember you are not your pain and differentiate between you, your body and the pain you are having.

Healthy Distractions:

Of course nobody wants to pursue unhealthy distractions but we all end up there at some point or another. Don’t beat yourself up for that, not ever.

Planning ahead helps. Do you know what can take your mind off hard times and help you get through it at the same time? Help someone else if you have the capacity. Get creative. Right now, writing this post is my healthy distraction. Brainstorm a few, so you have options in your back pocket when you need them.

Change Your Mind:

What’s an easy way to literally change your mind? Words have power. For example, if I am triggered into trauma, I tell myself to MELT. I imagine I am like a popsicle, just melting slowly and calmly, coming down to a place of peace and presence. I also use affirmations and song lyrics to rewire my brain with thought patterns and beliefs that support me better.

Get Control of Your Breathing.

Breathing into the belly is step 1, to get you back into your body but also in touch with the essence of who you are.

You can try whatever breathwork practices you want and see what works best for you. If you enjoy guided meditations, listen to one. If you are having a panic attack or anxiety attack, please slow down and deepen your breathing. Take your time. Give your attention to the bottoms of your feet. Give yourself a hug. Get under a warm blanket. Whatever it takes, you want to allow your body, heart and brain to be resourced with, but not overwhelmed by, oxygen and whatever other nutrients our brains need. You want your emotional chemical soup to simmer down, so you can feel a little better.

Imagine you are trying to soothe a baby. Be gentle with yourself.

Meditate – however you can.

Someone put me into a deep sweet meditation during labour with my 10.2 lb natural-born daughter. I had zero medications. Not bragging about that. It was a choice for my own trauma healing. Suffice it to say it felt impossible that for a time I was able to feel the contractions but without feeling any of the pain, just from someone leading me in a guided meditation while I lay there birthing my child. Yup. It worked. It doesn’t always but I just wanted you to know what’s possible.

Cry it out.

If you carry chronic pain, it’s very likely you have built up a pretty big pain tolerance level. It’s also possible you aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of crying out the pain, or crying at all.

The tears we cry are medicine tears, to help us to feel, flow and release emotions. If we don’t cry, where do those emotions go? You won’t like the answer, which is what I found out after my son died. Those emotions that we avoid can turn up in the body as built-up pain. The good news is, since emotions can be moved, we just have to get that pain to remember what it is (unexpressed emotions), to be able to release it.

Last one… Listen to music!

Sure, I am a singer and hand drummer, but music is a universal healer. What are your favourite songs? What makes you instantly feel more alive? What helps you to move out excess grief or other emotions? What do you love dancing to? What makes you bounce, laugh or sing along?

Be mindful of the lyrics you listen to and sing, so they take you where you want to go.

Our virtual events might be helpful to you if you identify as a covid-conscious woman or non-binary person. What I hear most from people who attend them is that they feel lighter.

If you have tips you’d like to add to these, please do! I am sure many other people looking for chronic pain relief tips will appreciate your advice.

Thanks & Blessings,


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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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