30 Apr

4 ways to manage pain

Living with pain and a brain injury

Individuals living with brain injury can often have other pain that relates to their initial brain injury. Often individuals will experience common symptoms such as headaches and nerve pain. Sometimes this pain is chronic and persistent. 

Limiting the impact of pain after experiencing a brain injury is an important part of moving back into leading a normal life and can often be a major step towards rejoining the workforce, which many people are excluded from after a brain injury.  

Interesting fact:  1 in 5 Australians aged 45 and over are living with persistent, ongoing pain. With women and older people more likely to suffer chronic pain.  

People with chronic pain are more likely to:   

  • be female and older 
  • have mental health conditions 
  • affected sleep 
  • increased fatigue  
  • have long-term conditions 
  • stay longer in hospital 
  • report limitations to daily activities.

4 ways to reduce pain: 


Including exercise in your regular routine is an easy way to reduce pain and its impact on your overall health. When you exercise your body releases painkilling and mood elevating chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin. Many people see an improvement in physical and mental health once they commit to a modest exercise routine. 

Deep Breathing: 

Often when individuals experience pain they begin to take shorter and shallower breaths. However, it is helpful to control breathing and to take longer and deeper breaths, this helps to calm individuals and initiates the relaxation response. The relaxation response helps counteract the impact of the stress response to the pain and can help in limiting pain experienced by individuals. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that encourages individuals to change their thoughts around issues they face. For example, someone who is experiencing pain, may internally think, “I can’t handle this pain it’s too much”, too, “I’ve experienced this and worse before, I will get through this”.  Redirecting an individual’s thoughts around pain has shown improvement in resilience towards pain. 


Meditation has widely been used by individuals to manage pain, with research showing its various benefits for people with chronic pain. Using meditation, like deep breathing, triggers the body’s relaxation response. And allows individuals to direct their thoughts away from the discomfort they may be experiencing.  

Whatever way you manage pain, it’s important to seek professional help to develop a pain resilience plan that best suits your needs, lifestyles or any limitations you may have. For more information on pain resilience or examples of typical pain experienced from brain injury visit our factsheet on pain and pain management here