Distraction is the Most Powerful Analgesic

The Number one Thing you can do for Pain Relief

Distraction is the most powerful analgesic because it helps you stop catastrophizing every ache and pain. “… it appears to involve competition for attention between a highly salient sensation (pain) and consciously directed focus on some other information processing activity.” How Does Distraction Work in the Management of Pain?

Your brain cannot focus on two things at once, so you get to choose where you place your concentration. If you are like most people, you are sick and tired of thinking about every painful nuance in your body. Now is the time for you to consciously create interruptions in your thoughts.

Gail Sinclair wearing her virtual reality helmet to distract from chronic pain.

Virtual Reality Equals Distraction

Virtual reality is an easy way to learn how to distract yourself. Researches found that patients who use VR have reduced pain for hours AFTER the session! To get more information, read my article on Virtual Reality Reduces Chronic Pain to find out about purchasing headsets.

Graded Approach to Distraction

Do you still wonder if this is the most powerful analgesic? If you cannot imagine how to turn your attention away from your pain, start with a graded approach. Would you expect to run a marathon if you had never run around even one block? Be kind to yourself, and gradually learn how to do this. You will be glad you did.

Focus on chopping vegetables to create a distraction for you pain brain.

What can you do when your pain flares? What do you like to do? Chopping vegetables and making meals soothes my pain. I turn my focus to the repetitive motion of slicing vegetables. Time passes, and with my awareness placed on the physical actions of my body, discomfort melts.

“The process of distraction appears to involve competition for attention between a highly salient sensation (pain) and consciously directed focus on some other information processing activity.” How does distraction work in the management of pain? by Johnson MH

Science Supports Distraction

Researchers are turning their attention to the study of persistent pain since so many people have it! Scientific proof is readily available, which shows you how to take control. Yes. You will still have pain, but you can move it to the background while focusing on your engaged life.

ScienceDaily.com said in its blog that “Mental distractions makes pain easier to take…”

What Should I do?

Games on phone to distract from chronic pain.

Load some games onto your phone or listen to your favorite podcasts. Read books. Do a crossword puzzle. Listen to your favorite meditation. Talk to friends. Entertain yourself during your pain. You can do all of this from your phone!

Please know that I understand. I have trigeminal, occipital and glossopharyngeal neuralgia, gastrointestinal issues, and fibromyalgia. If you want to know more about me and how I use pain management tools to thrive, view my story on the U.S. Pain Foundation’s site.

Create your distraction list and post it where you will see it and use it. Use these Quick Stress Reduction Tools as part of your list. When stress goes up, your pain goes up.

Need more ideas? Pop over to my Pain Management Tools and Resources pages.


Gail Sinclair, MHt, CNC is a hypnotherapist who helps those living with chronic pain go from discomfort to thriving by using hypnosis, pain management tools and resources.

She is a Master Hypnotherapist, Nutritional Consultant, and a Reiki Master Teacher. She has over 20 years in healing work and is an international award-winning speaker.

Gail lives in Portland, OR with her delightful husband, son, and cat. She can be found cooking, knitting, writing, and figuring out new ways to thrive with Trigeminal, and Occipital Neuralgia.

You can reach her at gailthriveswithchronicpain@gmail.com.

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