At the end of the year, we start to get intensely excited and feel especially motivated to change our lives for the better once January 1 rolls around. We begin to pursue many goals, and often find our motivation was artificial and temporary. For many people, we aren’t able to devote the energy our lofty goals deserve, we lose focus, and eventually abandon our resolutions completely. In this article, we’ll look into ways you can be successful when you make a New Year’s resolution to be pain free.

When you have chronic pain, most people look to the medicine cabinet or drugstore. Unfortunately, medications usually only make you pain free temporarily—and they won’t cure what causes the pain or stop it completely. But there are plenty of approaches to try when it comes to your pain management strategies.

Setting Your Resolution

It’s important to create a manageable resolution—in other words, don’t be tempted to set more goals than you can reasonably achieve. Believe it or not, how you word your resolution can help you make it a habit. If you say “I intend to achieve <this goal>” is powerful. It gives you a purpose along with the clear assumption you’ll succeed, as opposed to “I want to achieve <this goal>.” Create a game plan, breaking down your resolution into the steps you’ll take to successfully tackle each of the milestones along the way. 

If you find something that doesn’t work, try a different approach with your resolution firmly in mind. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make considerable progress each day. You’re only human, and we all have days where we’re not at our best. For example, someone who resolves to exercise daily might want to rest instead while they have the flu. These things happen, so be prepared.

Tips for a Pain-Free New Year

It’s possible that you don’t have to live with chronic pain, relying on pills for the rest of your life. We’ve put together some drug-free options to help you remain pain-free. 

  • Massage. From deep tissue work to more gentle techniques, massage can help you relax. Its therapeutic benefits include relaxing muscles and sore tissues as well as easing chronic pain. 
  • Physical Therapy. You’ll learn how to gently and effectively move and stretch your muscles while working to strengthen your joints. Physical therapy can help the cause of your pain and may include exercises, stretching, or even water therapy that works your muscles in a pool.
  • Acupuncture. This is one of the world’s oldest pain management techniques. This Chinese practice uses tiny needles placed in specific spots on your body. Acupuncture promotes circulation, wound healing, and pain modulation. 
  • Hot and Cold Therapy. Heat—from a heating pad, a hot bath, or other source—boosts blood flow and allows muscles to relax. Cold—from ice or a cold pack—slows circulation and reduces swelling, slowing the body’s ability to send pain messages.
  • TENS Treatment. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves attaching small devices to the painful area. Electricity stimulates the nerves in the area where the pain is localized and reduces pain.

Therapy for the Mind. Our mental health affects our physical health. When you’re anxious, depressed, or stressed, it can manifest in physical pain, or at the very least might make you hyper-focused on your pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can teach you how to better manage your thoughts and emotions along with your body’s physical response. Biofeedback is another method that helps you learn how to control your body’s reaction to pain, and the deep relaxation of hypnosis can also help keep you pain free.