Relaxation for Pain Relief 
Try this simple relaxation technique for pain relief. It is an easy technique that is quickly learnt - best of all, you can succeed the very first time you try it. First of all, here are some of the benefits of deep relaxation:

  • Your body and mind are flooded with pain-relieving chemicals, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, the 'happy hormones'.
  • You feel centred and filled with peace.
  • You are able to continue your day feeling calm and in control.
  • You reinforce your belief and confidence in yourself as the prime agent of your own pain relief.

To gain these wonderful benefits, you need to make a few preparations. You need:

  • A quiet room.
  • To be undisturbed for 15 minutes or so.
  • To take your shoes off, and to loosen any tight clothing.
  • To make yourself as comfortable as you can be, either sitting or lying down, using cushions and props for support if necessary.

The Relaxation

Make yourself as comfortable as you can be at this moment, taking into account the points above. Let your eyes close and just concentrate on your breathing for a few moments, allowing it to slow and deepen naturally. Let any intrusive thoughts go, as they arise, without following them, and just be aware of your breath. Then take your attention to your left foot, and give the instruction:

"Left toes - relax and let go."

Pause and allow time for your instruction to your body to take place, and notice the difference.

Take your attention to your right foot, and give the instruction:

"Right toes - relax and let go."

Then pause and allow time for relaxation to take place, noticing the difference.

Take your attention to your left foot, and give the instruction:

"Left foot - relax and let go."

Then pause and allow time for relaxation to take place, noticing the 


Take your attention to your right foot, and give the instruction:

"Right foot - relax and let go."

Then pause and allow time for relaxation to take place, noticing the difference.

Continue like this, all around your body in the following order:

  • Left toes/right toes
  • Left foot/right foot
  • Left calf/right calf
  • Left knee/right knee
  • Left thigh/right thigh
  • Left hip/right hip
  • Lower back
  • Abdomen
  • Upper back
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Arms (both together)
  • Hands (both together)
  • Fingers and thumbs (all altogether)
  • * Neck - see below
  • Head
  • Face - individual parts of face too, if you wish, e.g. forehead,
  • eyes, etc.

*Your neck is like a gateway to relaxation. If you free your neck, you stop your head from jamming down on to your neck, and stop your shoulders and back from stiffening up into your neck, thus freeing your whole self. All you need to know is that this area is especially important to keep relaxed and free.

At the end of this session you will feel totally relaxed and peaceful, comfortable and centred.

With experience and practice (every day is best) you probably won't need to instruct each part of the body individually, as above. You will find your body will soon respond automatically to the first few instructions, bringing general relaxation. Later on you might find you could even just say, "Body - relax and let go" or, "Neck, be free", and then travel in your mind around your body, checking each area, making sure it is all relaxed and peaceful.

Good luck, and enjoy your relaxation session - it's a life-saver!

Stress Management Consultant for Back Pain Management programme

Relaxation plays an important part of your management skills and as I have said - "Learning to Manage Back Pain is a Skills to be learnt." It is well known that those with chronic pain are anxious, and learning relaxation will help them in their recovery.

So here is a relaxation technique by Jan Rayner who is part of the Back Pain Management programme team. Relaxation & PAIN Control

We are all aware that tension and stress do us no favours. When we are in pain stress is no friend. Unfortunately, not many of us are capable of simply snapping our fingers and ridding ourselves of what ails us. We need some help, a technique that tunes our minds and our bodies. Relaxation techniques can help you gain mastery over physical complaints as well as improving your state of mind.

Pain is a brilliant alarm system that warns us that something is wrong with our body. It is important to determine the cause of pain and to receive a medical diagnosis to determine the cause of pain and to receive any medical treatment recommended. Having done that you can then help yourself to cope better with the pain.

Having learnt relaxation techniques, which allows the muscles to relax and the mind to slow, the next step is to give your subconscious suggestions. You give yourself an alternative "movie" to watch instead of paying attention to the pain. It is simple but effective. You can relieve your pain by shifting your awareness away from the pain. You can think of your pain as a thing or a colour. You can give it a name or a shape. You can imagine a place you would love to be. You can imagine yourself floating in a hot air balloon or lying on a sun drenched beach. It doesn't matter what you choose, the choice is yours. Let your imagination go with it.

The Technique

First make yourself comfortable, either in a chair on lying on your bed. You can have some relaxing music playing if you wish. Just close your eyes and listen for your breathing. Take in a few deep breaths. Put your awareness in your feet and gradually move up your body relaxing all the muscles from your feet to your head . Just allow yourself to relax. You can count down from 10 to 1 slowly to help yourself to relax more.

Once you feel relaxed it is time for imagery. Here are some suggestions:

Picture yourself floating on your back in the warm ocean waters off a beautiful Caribbean island. You feel the sun beating down, warming your body and you feel light and calm as you continue to float.

Picture your back as being twice as wide and twice as long as you usually think of it. Imagine all the spaces in your back, lots of spaces for the muscles, nerves and vertebrae to move around. Imagine the nerves in your back smoothly branching out, no longer gripping and knotting around each other.

The next step is to introduce suggestions to your subconscious. You can carry these with you when you are not in a relaxed state. 
These are a few examples:

    • I am relaxed and comfortable
    • I feel myself feeling better and better with each passing moment.
    • I approach each day with a positive outlook and a determination to get better.

This simple technique can enhance your life. Once the techniques have become part of your life they will remain with you and help during times of pain or stress but remember they can also be used every day to avoid getting stressed in the first place.

The techniques detailed below are all tried and tested methods which have been used by me as well as other Health Care Provider for many years as a way of keeping stress at bay.


Take your time with learning these techniques. You may find it helpful to focus on one technique, really mastering it before moving on to a new one. The idea is not to race your way through all the techniques as soon as possible, but rather to enjoy the experience of learning and to find one, or a few exercises that suits you.

You may wish to record the following exercises into a tape. Having a spoken commentary can be a useful guide and focus for the mind, especially for those new to such techniques. 


Sit or lie comfortably in a warm room and ensure that you won't be disturbed for c15 minutes.

Focus your attention on the feeling of your body and the sensation of your breathing.

Now, breathe in and, as you do, curl up your toes and tighten all the muscles in your feet, tighter and tighter. Keep them clenched and notice the way it feels. Now breathe out, relax and say to yourself 'let go of the tension'. Notice the contrast between the tension and the relaxation - feel the difference.

Next, breathe in and tighten the muscles in the backs of your calves. Hold that tension and breathe deeply as you do so, then, letting the breath out with a deep sigh, release the tension and let it flow out of your body.

Moving to your knees and thighs, breathe in and contract those muscles, really feel as though you are squeezing those muscles as tightly as you possibly can. Hold for a moment, and then relax and breathe out. Let the tension dissolve away.

Breathing in and tightening your buttocks now - really squeezing tightly as your take a deep breath in. Then, breathe out and let your buttocks relax.

Moving upwards to your stomach, pull in your tummy muscles as far as you can. Picture that stomach becoming concave as the muscles become tighter and tighter. Hold, and then, with a deep sigh, release them.

Now, breathe in and squeeze your upper arms in towards your chest and really tighten those chest muscles and shoulders. Hold for a moment and then breathe out and release. Let your shoulders drop back and down. Make tight fists with your hands and, at the same time, bend your arms at the elbow and tighten your biceps. Tense them as hard as you can and you breathe in and notice the feeling of tenseness. Relax now, straighten out the arms and let the relaxation develop.

Turning your attention to your head now, screw up your face - breathe in deeply and really scrunch up all the muscles in your face as tightly as you can. Now relax and smooth it out - let your whole face and scalp become smooth and at rest.

Now, clench your teeth - breathe in and tighten your jaw muscles, bite hard and notice the tension in your jaw. Relax your jaw and breathe out - your lips will be slightly parted.

Now, give your entire body the chance to just totally relax - let all your muscles become very heavy. Experience the feeling of relaxation flowing throughout your whole body. Enjoy that feeling and notice how sensations may be different from before you began this exercise.

When you are ready, start to bring your attention back into the room. Wriggle your toes and fingers and, very slowly, open your eyes.

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you have just experienced.