9 ways to use distraction as a pain relief

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A huge part of pain management is distraction. It is important to keep busy to try and not let chronic pain take over, and keeping your mind busy means that you are not focussing on your pain. In this blog post I suggest 9 ways to use distraction as a pain relief and why it is beneficial.

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Sometimes the pain can be so bad, that nothing can distract you. The important thing to do here is to accept it and just do what you need to do. This can be having a sleep, having a good cry, or simply doing nothing and trying as best as you can to focus on the positives.

My distraction suggestions fall in to 3 categories: rest, exercise and movement, and keeping your mind busy.


Sometimes you may need to listen to your body and have a sleep, but sometimes you may just need to rest but need something to distract yourself from your pain. Doing something while resting and when you’re stuck in bed or lying on the sofa helps make sure that you don’t fall asleep more than you should – as this can impact on your sleep at night time. It can also make you feel like you are making the most of this rest time too, rather than feeling defeated by your pain. Things like learning something through reading or watching TV, or enjoying some of your favourite music to release some of those endorphins.

Exercise and movement

Doing some sort of physical activity may feel like the last thing that you want to do. But it may just be exactly what you need. Keeping active can help you feel more energised and increases the blood flow to muscles which can help to reduce pain.

Keeping your mind busy

These primarily focus on keeping your mind occupied so you’re not thinking about or focusing on your pain. Some of these you can combine with rest too.

My 9 ways to use distraction as a pain relief

1. Watch TV or a film

This is probably the simplest form of distraction, and the most easily accessible. There’s so much choice these days too – including live TV, your own recorded programmes, DVDs, and drama series and films on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

2. Listen to music

The power of your favourite music is incredible. It can change your mood, increase your energy and bring back some memories from the time your first heard it. Dig out your favourite songs and create a chronic pain playlist for those bad pain days.

3. Reading

There’s so many books to choose from these in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, and even more choice through Kindle and eBooks.

Why my Kindle is good for my chronic pain

Everyone with chronic pain must read this book

10 non-fiction books I recommend

4. Walking

I talk in detail about this in my post How walking helps my chronic pain. Sometimes, at first, you might not have the energy or feel up to it, but gentle movement such as walking can be really beneficial for pain management. And you may even feel more energised after some fresh air and a little exercise. Using a fitness tracker can really help motivate you too.

5. Chores

Chores are a necessity in life. If you don’t like doing them, think of them as a good, productive way to keep moving and help your pain. Plus the psychological impact of getting them done can be a simple way of improving your wellbeing too.

6. Exercise you enjoy

Any exercise you can do is beneficial, but it is always more motivating and fun when you do something you actually enjoy.

7. Write a blog

Have you thought about starting your own blog? It keeps your mind busy, helps you write down your thoughts and how you are feeling, and it may even help others too.

If you’re thinking of starting your own blog, read my post 10 tips for new bloggers.

8. Spending time with family and friends

Having someone with you to keep you occupied is an excellent way to use distraction as a pain relief. You can stay at home and invite friends round for a coffee or a meal (if you have the energy and motivation to cook) or a takeaway. Or sometimes penciling some time out with friends in the diary is a good way to get out the house and away from your normal environment.

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9. mindfulness activities

Quite simply, these keep your mind occupied and help you focus on the present. Things such as adult colouring, puzzle books and crafting are brilliant to help you focus on something else.

Your thoughts

How do you keep distracted from your pain?

What can you recommend to others?

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6 thoughts on “9 ways to use distraction as a pain relief

  1. Kirsten says:

    Great suggestions! One of mine is listening to podcasts. When the pain is too much to open my eyes, podcasts are a great way to stay entertained and rest at the same time.

  2. Nikki says:

    I literally do all of these and they are great. Except for exercise at the moment due to vertigo issues I’ve had for a year… otherwise, I usually do.

    • Alice says:

      Thanks for your feedback ? Wow, vertigo must be hard to deal with. I don’t know much about it, so this may be a silly question, but can you do anything sitting or lying down in terms of exercise?

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