During the lead up to my surgery, one of the surgeons advised me to take all the stress out of my life. Since that isn’t possible, I give you 11 suggestions (not advice) for managing pain, as follows:

1. Distraction. Boredom is your enemy, and leaves you too much time to think about your pain.

2. Know and avoid activities that increase pain. (But push yourself when you can.)

3. Keep calm and stress free (should be everybody’s motto).

4. Both aspirin and antihistamines work as anti-inflammatories.

5. Try not to sweat. In other words, try to keep your body temperature from rising enough to sweat, which can exacerbate pain levels.

6. Let the little things go (see #3).

7. Let some of the big things go, too. (And choose your stress-inducing battles carefully.)

8. It is said that music can tame the savage beast (see numbers 1 and 3).

9. Grunt. Sometimes, when we’re doing something that takes extra effort, we make a noise (or grunt). A little verbal exhalation, to express the pain within the physical effort. It’s a type of release that you will be able to hear in your subconscious — just a little acknowledgement (like a note to yourself) that you’re still fighting the pain. You are making the effort, and that’s a good thing.

10. Enjoy healthy (and not so healthy) food. Treat yourself to your favorites, and don’t feel guilty about it. Savor whatever enjoyment you are able to grab from your life in pain.

11. Research and understand the type of pain you suffer from, including the underlying condition, and never let your questions go unanswered. (Knowledge is a stress-reliever.)

And good luck.

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