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man getting massage for intractable pain management

Intractable Pain Management: 7 Tips for Coping

Medically Reviewed by: Christine A. Doerbecker, BS, RPh

Pain is an essential and normal response triggered by your nervous system. It often alerts you to possible injury. But what happens when pain persists, even after you’ve healed from an injury? When that pain lasts for months, maybe years? You may suffer from intractable pain.

Intractable pain management can be difficult due to the nature of intractable pain. Medical marijuana can play an important role in intractable pain management, providing relief from the pain itself and controlling the symptoms associated with taking opioid drugs. Today, we’ll explore seven tips for intractable pain management.

What is Intractable Pain?

Before we dive into the tips for intractable pain management, it’s important that we answer the most essential question first—what exactly is intractable pain? Intractable pain is a type of pain that cannot be controlled with standard medical care. The pain is chronic, unrelenting, and excruciating, often affecting daily routines. The pain is so severe that it can restrict you to your bed or require hospitalization. Approximately one in five Americans, or about 50 million Americans, suffer from intractable pain.

Even though intractable pain is chronic, intractable pain is not chronic pain. Intractable pain can be considered a severe form of chronic pain. Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than three months but can be cured. There is no cure for intractable pain, so treatment focuses on reducing discomfort.

Without further ado, here are tips for intractable pain management.

Eat Healthy

You are what you eat—there’s no denying that. Changing your diet is usually a good first place to start with so many conditions including intractable pain. Shoot for a well-balanced diet: low sodium and low fat, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, and lean meats. Even making incremental changes, like reducing sugar, which may cause inflammation, could help decrease your pain.

Practice Deep Breathing and Meditation

An essential component to intractable pain management is deep breathing and meditation. These techniques focus on relaxation, which can ease pain. There are many different types of meditation, but largely, it involves the soothing power of repetition. Likewise, there are different deep breathing techniques, like the 4-7-8 breathing method. We recommend trying several techniques to see what works for best for you

Reduce Stress

Piggybacking on the previous tip, reducing stress is key to reducing pain. Stress causes muscles to tighten, increases your pulse, and can cause your blood pressure to rise. All of which are a recipe for disaster when it comes to intractable pain management. Actively avoid stressful situations and use stress management techniques to keep yourself feeling calm and collected.


If possible, exercise. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that improve your mood while also blocking pain signals. Exercise also strengthens muscles, which can reduce the risk of injury and additional pain. Since intractable pain often affects daily routines, talk to your doctor about the right exercise routine for your body.

Join a Support Group

You may be surprised by this tip for intractable pain management. While this may not relieve physical discomfort, talking to those who also suffer from intractable pain can tremendously help your state of mind. Suffering from such severe pain for such a prolonged period of time can be a lonely road. Unfortunately, some may not understand the severity of the pain because they have never been through it themselves. Find a support group to share frustrations and wins along your journey.

Likewise, consider counseling. Depression is a common side effect from intractable pain. Talk therapy can help you learn to cope better with your condition. It can also reduce your overall level of stress, equipping you to manage any negative thoughts.

Track Your Pain Level Daily

What may seem like a daunting task, tracking your pain level and activities is essential to intractable pain management. Your doctor needs to know how you are feeling between visits. Don’t rely on your memory alone. Track your pain levels on a scale of 1 to 10 and your activities daily, at various times throughout the day. Bring your journal with you when you see your doctor. This can also help you identify activities that trigger an increase, or conversely ease, your pain.

Consider Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is proven to help reduce pain, either alone or in combination with an analgesic. Inhaled marijuana can provide near immediate relief, with fewer side effects than other medications including opioids. Additionally, medical marijuana can help manage the side effects associated with taking opioids, like nausea and dizziness. Before using medical marijuana, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Solevo Wellness can help determine which type of marijuana, indica vs. sativa, will work best for your intractable pain management. In light of the current pandemic, we have options available to purchase medical marijuana online. For more information, contact us today.