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VHA Pain Management

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For Veterans/Public - Chronic Pain 101: How to Break the Cycle

For Veterans/Public - Chronic Pain 101: How to Break the Cycle


This section provides tools addressing "Pain Management 101," developed for Veterans/patients.

Pain Management 101 - What You Can Do to Help Decrease Your Pain:

Pace Yourself
  • Take breaks before pain starts, slowly do more to build confidence.
Practice Relaxation & Stress Reduction
  • Use coping tools to down-regulate danger/threat system & balance body and mind.
Exercise & Physical Activity
  •  “Motion is lotion," daily movement (e.g. regular walks) to promote functioning.
Find Activities You Enjoy
  • Spend time every day doing something you value. This can help break the depressive cycle, and limit avoidance coping.
Work with Physical Therapy
  • Daily stretches strengthen muscles and increase functioning.
Practice Communication Skills
  • Use of “I” statements helps others understand, “I’m frustrated when…”
  • It’s important to share how you feel
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Improve sleep habits
  • Make healthy food choices

Resources - Chronic Pain 101: How to Break the Cycle

Title/Link Source Description
Understanding Pain * Department of Defense (DoD) - Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Joint Pain Education Project (JPEP). Understanding Pain video was developed to provide individuals, family members, and clinicians with general strategies for managing acute and chronic pain.
7 Things You Should Know About Pain * (pdf) www.bettermovement.org This information comes directly from www.bettermovement.org
Explain Pain * (pdf) www.paintoolkit.org   A brochure explaining the elements of pain.
Women Veterans Health Care - Chronic Pain web page icon Department of Veterans Affairs What is chronic pain, what are the symptons, and treatments.
Chronic Pain: In Depth* icon web page National Institute of Health (NIH)* Variouis topics about addressing chronic pain.
Chronic Pain in 5 Minutes*  Hunter Integrated Pain Service (HIPS) Video about what current research has been saying about chronic pain. 
Management of Opioid Therapy (OT) for Chronic Pain (2017) icon webpage VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines Material about the Management of Opioid Therapy (OT) for Chronic Pain (Patient/Providers.)
Four Tips for Successfully Managing Chronic Pain*icon webpage   Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE) Tips that can help you manage your pain and its effects on your overall quality of life.
A Car With Four Flat Tires *  TheACPAChannel A video that depicts, a person with pain is like a car with four flat tires.

Veterans/Public Pain Management - Resource Topics

 chronicpain  self management medical treatments Complementary Treatments faqs

Disclaimer: *Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.