The Difference between Passive and Active Pain Management


Pain can become debilitating when it is not addressed properly. Depending on what causes your pain, it can be chronic or acute. The treatments for it are also divided based on the methods used to soothe the pain. From exercising to using heating packs, your pain specialist can advise on a variety of ways to treat your pain. The techniques for managing pain are divided into active and passive pain management. Each of these two has its own characteristics and they can be blended by your healthcare professional to find the best way to address your pain.

Pain can be debilitating and frustrating and may interfere with sleep, work, and quality time with friends and family.

Pain management plans help people with chronic (long-lasting) pain feel better and improve their quality of life. Learn more about managing pain below.

Active pain management

One of the ways to soothe pain is to undergo physical exercises and participate in the pain management activity. This is an active management process and it consists of a number of activities one can do to relieve their pain.

Yoga is a popular active management technique, which combines the physical activity with the mental focus. It can strengthen your body and improve your flexibility, stamina, balance and coordination. By doing yoga you also learn to relax and control your stress, which contributes to pain relief.

Breathing techniques are also a form of active management used to relax and reduce the pain. As you breathe deeply, you can also teach your mind to manage the stress, which helps reduce the pain you feel.

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Regular exercises might look like counterintuitive, but they are very effective in fighting pain. Depending on your doctor’s advice, you can engage in different levels of physical exercising, from simple walking to lifts and stretching. One of the types of chronic pain addressed with this active pain management technique is back pain. By strengthening your core, you lift some of the pressure from your spine, reducing the amount of back pain you feel.

Passive pain management

In the case of passive pain management the patient is not actively involved in the pain relief process. Instead, it is conducted by someone else, like the pain physician. Some of the methods used under this type of pain management are ultrasounds, massage, heat or ice packs.

Treatments conducted by a specialist include: acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, TENS therapy and hypnosis. Using pills or cortisone injections are also filed under this category.

Most of these treatments are used to fight pain on short term, while active programs are used to soothe pain on long term. In practice, the two methods are often merged, to help the patient function properly on short term and provide a solution for long term pain management. For example, your doctor can prescribe you pills or acupuncture to soothe your pain right away and stretching exercising to help you control your pain on the long term.

If you suffer from debilitating chronic pain or acute pain, you need to see a specialist, who can make you a plan to fight the pain and regain control over your life. You may also want to review your diet. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation can also impact pain.

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A comprehensive pain management plan can help you feel better physically and mentally. Although it isn’t always possible to find total relief from pain, you may be able to reduce pain or learn to respond to it in a different way. Many people with chronic pain enjoy a better quality of life with a pain management program. Living with pain can be extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. If you’re in pain, talk to your provider about a personalized pain management plan.

Cara Lucas

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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