Pain can be debilitating, but you’re not completely defenseless to pain associated with conditions that affect bones, joints, or muscles. Create your own personal arsenal of strategies to take on pain and improve your quality of life.

8 Strategies for Successfully Managing Pain

Head’s up- this post is purely informational and not meant to be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying any of these treatments. Use common sense, my friends. The internet is no substitute for seeing someone with an actual degree in medicine.

1. Try a Topical NSAID for Short-Term Pain Relief

Instead of taking NSAIDs orally, you can apply them directly to the site of some areas that are causing you pain. Certain compounds prescribed by your doctor may be used for a limited amount of time to treat conditions such as arthritis in joints and extremities. Discuss whether you need a prescription or OTC compound with your doctor.

2. Treat Inflammation With Cold Therapy

When you’re in severe pain due to inflammation, a cold compress can help you really take the edge off. Get a few flexible gel packs that you can keep in your freezer. They’ll stay cold for about an hour. When one starts to warm up, put it back in the freezer and take out another. Avoid putting a gel pack directly against your skin because it can cause topical irritation that’s similar to a burn. A convenient solution is to get gel packs that come with a wrap that you can apply to the affected area; you’ll be able to move freely while still keeping the pack in place.

3. Numb Flare-Ups With Lidocaine Patches

Lidocaine can minimize pain by numbing it, much in the same way that ice does. You can get a lidocaine patch that will maintain efficacy for as long as eight hours. Typically, you can wear only one patch at time so you should only apply it to the area that is causing you severe discomfort. While some are sold over-the-counter, others require a prescription. Again, talk to your doctor before using.

4. Use CBD for Pain Relief

Unlike medications such as NSAIDs that you can take only for a limited duration, CBD treatments for inflammation have not been shown to cause any risk with prolonged use. Some people are afraid that CBD creates a strong psychotropic effect similar to traditional marijuana. However, products with CBD and no THC will help you alleviate pain without unwanted side effects. While some people experience a slightly calming or anxiety-reducing effect after using a CBD product, it won’t produce a significantly mind-altering state or leave you feeling as though you can’t do anything. CBD’s stress relieving properties can also help you address pain.

5. Lower Your Stress Levels

Increased stress can dramatically exacerbate pain. Make an active effort to lower your stress levels. Meditation,aromatherapy, and talk therapy can help you better manage stress.

8 Strategies for Successfully Managing Pain

6. Get Plenty of Rest

If you don’t give your body a full night’s rest, you’ll feel sore and fatigued the next day. Your body needs rest to repair damaged tissue, so you’ll be putting yourself at a disadvantage for healing. Your pain tolerance will be considerably weakened, and you’ll be more susceptible to increased stress levels. Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night will help you stay resilient.

7. Try Acupressure

Much like acupuncture, acupressure can offer pain relief by releasing tension. Stimulating pressure points can cause distressed myofascial tissue to relax and also interrupt the transmission of nerve pain. In contrast to acupressure, there are no needles involved and you can perform some acupressure techniques on yourself without specialized training.

8. Work With a Physical Therapist

A physical therapy regimen can help you move with less pain. You’ll strengthen the muscles that support the affected areas while you rehabilitate your injury. A physical therapist will task you with some exercises that may feel difficult to do when you first start therapy and may cause you some physical discomfort, but they’ll become easier the longer that you work on them. He or she will supervise your exercises to make sure that you’re performing them correctly and won’t cause yourself further injury. You’ll also likely be assigned exercises to perform at home either several times a week or every day. It’s important to be consistent about your therapy in order for it to have the best chance of successfully improving your pain levels and mobility.

When you can mitigate the effects of pain, you can feel more like yourself again. Instead of focusing on your pain, you’ll be better to devote your attention to the things that you need to get done and enjoy doing.