How to increase pain tolerance

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Increase your pain tolerance and pain threshold so you can avoid the need for pain relief.

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Maybe you’re about to do something painful, like get a tattoo? Maybe you want to reduce your reliance on pain medications. Whatever your reasons, keep reading for our tips on how to raise pain tolerance and decrease pain perception.

What is pain tolerance?

Pain tolerance refers to how easily you feel pain. If you have a higher pain tolerance, it will take a lot for you to perceive pain. If you have a lower pain tolerance, it will be much easier for you to reach your pain threshold.

There are plenty of ways to measure pain tolerance, such as the cold pressor test, dolorimetry, or pain intensity scales. However, you will likely know already if you need to increase your pain tolerance, so feel free to skip the testing step.

How can I stop myself feeling pain?

You can’t, unless you use painkillers. However, you can work on managing pain, so that even though you feel it, it doesn’t bother you as much.

Pain management techniques


If you regularly practice yoga, you’ll know that the combination of breathing exercises, meditation, and mental training can have profound positive effects on your wellbeing. There has now been a lot of research conducted into yoga’s positive effect on pain threshold – it can help people with fibromyalgia, low back pain, neck pain, headaches, and arthritis!

Mental imagery

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According to Healthline, “mental imagery refers to creating vivid images in your mind. For some people, this can be very useful for managing pain. There are many ways to do this.

The next time you’re in pain, try imagining your pain as a red, pulsating ball. Then, slowly shrink the ball in your mind and change it to a cool shade of blue.”


Healthline also note that biofeedback therapy “helps increase your awareness of how your body responds to stressors and other stimuli. This includes pain.

During a biofeedback session, a therapist will teach you how to use relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and mental exercises to override your body’s response to stress or pain.

Biofeedback is used to help treat a variety of psychological and physical conditions. These include chronic low back pain and muscle spasms.”


As you should now know, living with a chronic illness or doing an activity that will result in more pain doesn’t have to mean a strong pain response. If you employ any of these coping strategies, you will be well on your way to combatting a lower pain threshold.


So is it all brain related?

Mostly. Other than the initial painful stimuli – whatever creates the pain – the amount of pain you feel is down to your individual pain receptors and psychological factors. The way a person will experience pain is subjective and comes down to a complicated relationship between the brain and body, whether the person has been regularly exposed to pain, and whether they have developed any learned coping strategies to manage pain already.

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