Distraction is the Most Powerful Analgesic

The number one thing you can do for pain relief.

Distraction helps move us away from 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?

Think about it. 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.

Virtual reality is an easy way to learn how to distract yourself. Click here for my article on Virtual Reality Reduces Chronic Pain to find information on headsets.

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

If you cannot imagine how you can turn your attention away from pain, start with a graded approach. Would you expect to run a marathon if you had never run around a single block? Be kind to yourself and gradually learn how to do this. You will be glad you did.

What can you do when you feel flares? What do you like to do? I love to cook, so I will chop vegetables and make a lovely meal. I place my awareness fully on the repetitive motions. Time passes and with my awareness placed on the physical actions of my body, discomfort melts to the background.

“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

It’s science. I love that more and more researchers are turning their attention to persistent pain. Scientific proof is readily available that shows us how to take control. Yes. You will still have pain, but you will be thinking about something else.

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 in the midst of your pain. You can do all of this from your phone!

Please know that I understand. I have had occipital and glossopharyngeal neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia (“the suicide disease”) for the last five years. If you want to know more, view my story on the U.S. Pain Foundation’s site.

You can practice this daily. Create your own distraction list and post it where you will see it and use it.


Gail Sinclair, Master Hypnotherapist, Certified Nutritional Consultant, & Karuna® Reiki Master Teacher works diligently to teach others how to work through the 7 Stages of Chronic Pain and Learn How to Thrive™. She lives with Trigeminal & Occipital Neuralgia, Rheumatoid & Osteoarthritis, & Fibromyalgia and continues to learn tools to turn her attention away from the persistent pain of her body.

You can reach her at thrive@gailsinclair.com or at www.gailsinclair.com. Click here to contact her. 

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