Relieving pain

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
The first step in relieving pain is to discover what's causing the pain. It may be a simple tension headache, an injury, a sore muscle, or an aching joint. Tension headaches can usually be relieved by taking a painkiller such as aspirin, acetaminophen (ah-seet-ah-MIN-o-fin), or ibuprofen (I-byou-PRO-fin). In addition, try to relax by stretching and massaging the muscles of your shoulders, neck, jaws, and scalp. Pain may be relieved by taking a hot bath, or lying down with a warm or cold moist cloth over the aching area. Drink plenty of fruit juices or other non-alcoholic liquids. Often, a cup of coffee can ease a headache, because caffeine constricts blood vessels in the head. If the pain is related to a recent injury such as a sprained ankle, relief can often be found by applying ice to the injured area. When the pain is simply a sore muscle or joint, such as a stiff neck, heat treatments may relieve the soreness. It also helps to get a good night's sleep, so your body can repair itself. However, chronic or recurrent pain is a signal that something's wrong. If you find yourself needing painkillers several times a week, see a health care provider for a thorough examination.
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