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Non-Medication Pain Management

Distraction can help manage pain.

Keep your mind off of pain. Try these techniques!

  • Watch a video or TV
  • Discuss topics not related to the hospital or your procedure such as your favorite memories with a friend or loved one
  • Play a favorite game such as a board game, card game, or video game
  • Listen to music
  • Read a book 


 Mindful breathing can help manage pain

  • Aim to practice mindful breathing two times a day in 10-minute sessions. 
    • Setting a timer can help when first starting.
  • Breathe in through your nose for five seconds —counting in your head “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.”
    •  As you breathe in, remember to focus on the areas of your body where you feel pain or discomfort.
  • Breathe out through your mouth for another five seconds — “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” 
    • Imagine the pain leaving your body each time you breathe out.


Positive daily reflection can help manage pain and anxiety.

How to start: 

Think about the people, things, or events that have made you happy. Pick one of these and spend a moment savoring it. What made it so special to you?

Record the moment! Do this for as many pleasant memories as you can. It can be fun to write them on paper and collect them in a container.

Continue storing these special moments until you have a collection to reflect on!

Reflect on your positive memories:

When you are feeling pain, or you are in need of joy, choose a memory to read. Bring yourself back to that moment in time. Think about why it was important to you.

Use your memory collection to prepare for surgery by calmly reflecting on your favorite happy experiences.


Additional Resources:  Use these strategies at the same time as medications recommended by your doctor to manage pain. They can also be applied to life experiences beyond the hospital setting and surgery. Scan code for more information. Click here for more information.

Cite this work:
OPEN: Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (2022). Non-Medication Pain Management [English]. Retrieved from


Non-Medication Pain Management