Distraction: This is an effective technique. It’s as though the brain can only pay attention to one thing at a time. Talking, watching TV, playing games or looking at photo albums are some examples. If the pain is severe, these will not work.
Deep breathing / relaxation exercises: Guide the person in deep, slow, rhythmic breathing. There are many relaxation recordings available that are easy to follow. You can suggest to family members that they purchase relaxation recordings and furnish a listening device.
Cold: A cold pack (gel pack, ice pack, or zip bag with crushed ice) helps inflammation or muscle ache. Wrap the pack in a towel; do not put the ice pack directly on the skin. Even if this does not relieve all pain, it may help to numb the area somewhat.
Warmth: A warm tub bath or warm packs can relax muscles that have tightened due to pain. A warm, wet washcloth applied directly to the affected area may help. Covering the cloth with plastic will help retain the heat longer.
Massage: This is an excellent way to distract from pain and relax tense muscles that make the pain worse. Lotion may reduce friction. You do not have to massage the painful area. Massaging another area of the body may distract the mind from pain.
Prayer / meditation: Some people find this very comforting and perceive less pain during prayer. There may also be rites or rituals that could comfort the resident. Ask family members about this.
Music: Music is another form of distraction that research has shown relieves pain. It does not matter what kind of music, whatever the resident likes will work. Again, family members can help provide information about musical tastes and recordings and a CD player.
Energy work / therapeutic touch: These are hands-on techniques in which the practitioner places his or her hands on the resident’s clothed body to achieve a transfer of energy.
Acupressure / acupuncture: These techniques apply pressure or needles to specific points on the body to relieve discomfort in other areas that are associated with those points.
Reflection / life review: Those nearing the end of life often want to reflect on the events of their lives and the people they knew. Asking about family members or the resident’s youth or birth place may assist in starting this kind of life review.
Pets: Research shows that pets improve mood, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and may serve as a good distraction from pain.