Chronic Pain and Relaxation Response

Chronic pain can lead to a chronic stress response in your body. The Stress Response floods your body with chemicals made to prepare you for “fight or flight”. The Stress Response is helpful in true emergencies, but can wear your body down if it is constantly turned on.

The Relaxation Response is a state of rest that is the opposite of the Stress Response. When you have chronic pain, you need to create the Relaxation Response often. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes the Relaxation Response as having great benefits for reduction of pain and better sleep.


Starting a Relaxation Response

  1. Set aside 10 to 20 minutes once or twice each day to practice the Relaxation
  2. Try to find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down alone to practice.
  3. Pick one of the following methods to use. You may need to try a few to see which one you like the best, or you can alternate them:
  • Deep Breathing
  • Tense & Relax (Progressive Muscle Relaxation)
  • Guided or Visual Imagery
  • Mindful Meditation
Used with permission from the Community Health Association of Mountain/Plains States (CHAMPS)