Mind Tricks for Dialing Down Pain


Try to practice setting measurable goals (I'll get through the next hour) and then consistently increase them (I'll get through the next two hours) to encourage yourself to adjust mentally and physically to any harrowing hurt. "Once you start doing these things, they will become a habit and you'll be able to tolerate pain better," says Janet Taylor, M.D., a psychiatrist in New York City.

Uncomfortably Numb

While the above tips are effective solutions for acute, short-term pain, don't be a cowgirl when it comes to chronic ailments. Tuning out important signals, such as the pain that can come with a growing breast tumor or the sharp, uncomfortable pangs of uterine fibroids, can have serious long-term health consequences.

What's more, a review published in the journal Anesthesiology found that people who actively tried to ignore their long-term pain might hurt more. "Left untreated, chronic pain often gets worse over time; the nerve pathways become more sensitive and pain sensations escalate," explains Long. "After a while, the feeling can end up lingering even after the actual tissue or bone has healed."

Look at it this way: A high pain threshold is definitely a quality to be thankful for--but when your body attempts to tell you something again and again, the smartest thing you can do is listen up.

Breathe through it. Deeply.


More from Women's Health:

7 Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Yoga moves to help ease pain

Get the most nutritional value from your food

Find your fitness motivation

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