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Diversion Therapy

Did you know that you can control some of your pain as simply as changing what you are doing? It is called Diversion Therapy. Diversion Therapy is the act of switching your focus onto something else. Yes the pain will still be there but your focus will be on something else. The brain works by focusing on one thing at a time, putting all other things in the background including pain. By utilizing Diversion Therapy your pain can be in the background and not front and center in your focus. 

How you do this is very individualized. It has to be something that captures your attention. If it is something that you can mindlessly like watch TV for example, unless it is a show you are completely engrossed in it will not be enough to divert your attention. You need to pick something that really peaks your interest. Maybe that is calling your grandkids and speaking to them on the phone, or doing a hard puzzle that really makes you think. Some people like to do exercise including yoga or stretching.  A good book that you can completely lose yourself in will work. Whatever it is it has to completely capture your attention. Remember the goal is to do something that will be the main focus for you. 

I can already hear it… pain is too bad, I can’t possibly do that! I never said that it was easy. I get it that it is difficult to get motivated to do anything when pain levels are high. Think of this as another pain modality though, almost as another step in your pain care plan. The activities do not all have to be physical, they can be as simple as phoning a friend or doing a puzzle, they just have to be something that peaks your attention enough to be the main focus.  

If you think about it, this type of relief is very empowering. You can literally do it anywhere. You don’t need a script for it and nobody can ever take it away from you. This relief is tucked away inside you and you have the power to unleash it anytime you want.  

The next time your pain level is high I would encourage you to try Diversion Therapy-- see if it doesn’t help.  It may be a process to learn this technique and if it doesn’t work the first time, keep trying it. You have nothing to lose and phoning a friend or family member will likely make their day. 

Shauna Papa, RN Shauna Papa has been working with Dr. Baker as his nurse for 3 years now. She enjoys working closely with him to develop plans of care to help people in pain. Her favorite aspect of her job is seeing her patients return to their lives after receiving relief from debilitating pain conditions. She participates yearly in Pain Week in Las Vegas where she keeps up on all of the the latest advancements in pain management. Prior to working in pain management, Shauna worked extensively in trauma and emergency medicine both in the Phoenix area, and in Denver. In her time away from the office, Shauna enjoys spending time with her husband Randy and their 3 dogs Shilo, Ozzy and Baxter. She is a football fan and in keeping with her Denver roots, is a Denver Bronco super fan.

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