Non-medicine treatments for pain

药物不是最好的方法来管理。昂oing or chronic pain. There are other things you can do to manage it including self-care and various types of therapies. See your doctor before starting any treatment to make sure it's suitable for you.

What are the types of non-medicine treatments for pain?

There are many different types of non-medication treatments available. These are the more common approaches:


There are a number of things you can do for yourself, or with support from your whānau and friends or usual health care provider, to help with your pain. They can improve your symptoms or help you to cope with them better. These are seen as types of self-care and include working on:

  • your activity levels
  • what and how you eat
  • 您如何管理重要的事情,例如压力,心情和睡眠
  • maintaining an active social life.


Be active


  • 有些患有痛苦的人害怕做运动,以防他们使情况变得更糟。
  • It can be difficult to know how to get started and what types of exercise are right for you. Your doctor, nurse or a physiotherapist can help you with this.
  • Gentle stretching and walking are good things to try.
  • Start slowly andpace yourself,then if all is going well you can gradually increase what you are doing and the length of time you do it for.

Eat well

Eat a wide range of foods, so that you can get all the energy, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.

Healthy eating is not about sticking to strict diets or depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about eating a balanced range of foods that help you feel great, have more energy, improve your outlook and help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing some weight can improve your pain symptoms. Read more abouthealthy eating.

Connect with others

When you’re in pain you may avoid going out and doing things you enjoy. Studies show staying connected with whānau and friends is important for your mental wellbeing.

Try joining a new group or start doing something that you used to enjoy. Catch up with people as much as possible. Talking, laughing and doing things with people you enjoy is the best medicine.

Distract yourself

Being engaged in activities, by yourself or with others, can provide distraction from thinking about your pain. It may be as simple as going for a walk and looking at your surroundings or listening to music.


Mindfulnessis the practice of being aware of each moment of your day as it happens。它可以帮助reduce stress, tension and anxiety. It canalso帮助您避免过多地专注于痛苦,并以有助于控制痛苦的方式引导您的想法。阅读更多有关mindfulness.

Get enough sleep

Many people skip on sleep but regular, good quality sleep is important for brain functioning, emotional wellbeing, physical health, daytime performance and personal safety. Not getting enough sleep is common and can have serious impacts on your health and wellbeing. It can also mean that you don’t cope as well with your pain.

Research suggests that adults need at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night to be well rested. To restore your sleep balance, you need at least 2 nights in a row of unrestricted good quality sleep.

If you have problems sleeping:

  • try to get into a routine
  • create a peaceful sleep environment
  • avoid coffee, alcohol and exercise in the hours before you want to go to sleep
  • avoid looking at a screen (eg, tv, phone or computer) in the hour or so before you want to sleep – reading or meditating is more relaxing for your brain.


Learn about pain


As well as learning how to look after yourself better in order to manage your pain, there are also specific treatments you can be referred to specialist health professionals for. You may like to take the following points into consideration when you are talking to your doctor or another health professional about what is right for you.

Questions to consider before starting a treatment
  • What is the cost of the treatment – is it affordable?
  • Is this treatment suitable for your current health conditions, level of fitness?
  • Is the treatment scientifically proven to be effective?
  • How does the treatment work?
  • How long will it take?
  • What might the treatment achieve?
  • Are there any potential side effects or potential injuries linked with the treatment?
  • Is the treatment covered under the Accident and Compensation Corporation (ACC)? In New Zealand, ACC funds acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and osteopathy for some conditions. Read more aboutACC
  • Is the therapist performing your treatment registered with a reputable professional organisation?



Pain often results in inactivity. This can cause stiff joints, weak muscles, increased weight, poor fitness and getting breathless more easily, as well as low mood. This, in turn, can result in more inactivity and increased pain.

Physiotherapy or exercise under the supervision and guidance of a physiotherapist can be used to manage ongoing, persistent or chronic pain.

Before starting any treatment, the physiotherapist will do an assessment, taking into account any other health conditions you have and your current state of health, to help you decide on the best approach for you.

  • Your physiotherapist may advise you to do general exercises (eg, walking, swimming, dancing or cycling) or specific exercises designed to increase the strength and movement of particular muscles or joints.
  • 推荐的练习针对您和您的状况。
  • They are designed to keep you active and build on what you can already do.
  • Your physiotherapist may also use other methods of treatment which can include massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and acupressure/acupuncture.
  • Each therapist works in a slightly different way depending on their training and experience.

Manual therapy

There are 3 main types of manual therapy – massage, manipulation and mobilisation. These are usually performed by physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and some acupuncturists.

Massagemay involve gentle as well as deep-tissue hands-on treatment to ease tension in your muscles and distract you from your pain. The effects of massage may only be short-term but this may help you to get over a difficult period. You can give yourself a massage or you can see a qualified therapist. You can even ask a family member or good friend to give you a gentle massage – but make sure they know what they are doing!

Self-massage tips

  • You can use your hands, or a foam roller, massage balls or other massage aids, such as a tennis ball or a golf ball to massage the soles of your feet.
  • 如果您将球用于脚,请将其放在地板上,将赤脚放在其顶部,然后轻轻沿着脚的长度滚动球。如果您的脚不稳定,请在这样做的同时坐下。
  • If you’re massaging elsewhere on your body, before starting, ease some of your muscle tension with a warm shower or by applying a heat pack (warm not hot) to the painful area.
  • Use smooth, firm strokes. You’ll feel the difference between strokes that are relieving your muscle tension, and those that are adding to it.
  • Adjust the pressure, from hard to gentle, based on the degree of your pain.
  • Using an oil or lotion can help your hands move smoothly over your skin; however, it’s not essential – it’s a personal choice.
  • Try to massage yourself regularly to prevent muscle pain and tension building up.

Manipulationis a more forceful movement of a joint, possibly beyond what it would normally do. It can help to increase your range of movement and reduce pain.

Mobilisation是一种温和的运动,在现有运动范围内,您的关节尽可能地移动。太极拳是一个练习的示例,该运动通过在slow, focused manner.

Image credit: 123rf


RongoāMāori is traditional Māori medicine or healing.RongoāMāori is seen in 2 main forms – rongoār一种kau and Te Oo Mai Reia. Rongoār一种kau(植物疗法)是植物或基于树的药用疗法。

Te Oo Mai Reia (spiritual healing) uses different physical techniques alongside spiritual ones. Te Oo Mei Reia can be seen asMāorihealing through prayer, cleansing work and bodywork, which is known asknown as mirimiri (massage) and kōmiri (deep massage).请注意:此类康复的名称和变化可能从IWI变为IWI,但原理保持不变。阅读更多有关Rongoā Māori.


CBT是一种咨询,可以通过改变考虑方式来帮助您控制痛苦。它可以减轻与长期疼痛有关的焦虑和困扰。它专注于教您的技术和skills to help you cope better with chronic pain, such as relaxation, distraction, planning and routine, and problem-solving. All of these techniques are used in order to replace the negative thoughts common to chronic pain with more positive and calming thought processes. Read more aboutCBT.

Image credit: 123rf

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

In this technique, a hand-held device called a TENS machine is used to pass a small electric current through your skin to your nerves. It can reduce your pain by interfering with pain signals and blocking them from reaching your brain, or by stimulating production of your body's natural pain-relieving chemicals (called endorphins). It can also reduce the sensation of muscle tension and spasm.

The effects of TENS may be short-term; evidence for long-term benefit is weak.TENS is not suitable for everyone, eg, people with a pacemaker should not use it.


针灸刺激具体的实践c points under your skin using very thin needles. There are 2 broad types of acupuncture in New Zealand: traditional Chinese acupuncture and Western medical acupuncture.



Learn more

Navigating painNZ Pain Society
Self-managing chronic painPain Australia
The British Pain Society
Managing pain关节炎
What is acupuncture?针灸NZ

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team. Reviewed By: Lee-Ora Lewis, Clinical Nurse Director, Totara Health 上次审查:2017年10月16日