As I have been watching, the past few mornings, my children getting ready to go to school, I am reminded that pain is unfortunately an unavoidable part of life. Whether it is getting up early in the morning to go to school, the result of a fall or accident, or even chronic poor postures, pain can disrupt our day-to-day lives.In my profession, I deal with managing pain every day with my patients. In some shape or form, every patient who walks in my door has some sort of discomfort that results in their inability to do something that they like or need to do. Although it would be wonderful for me if everyone who had pain would come to seek the care of a physical therapist, most types of pain can be cared for using relatively simple methods. Here are some simple tips to manage everyday pain that you experience.1. Exercise. It is been said that if scientists could package exercise into a pill, it would be the most prescribed pill ever. If such a pill is ever invented, I would probably be in line right behind you to get my prescription filled as well! However, it is unlikely that any of us will see that pill anytime soon. In the meantime, regular, relatively gentle, safe exercise is not only good for overall health, but can do quite a bit to minimize painful joints and muscles. Proper exercise maintains flexibility and strength, which are necessary for proper efficient movement. My local TV provider even has free exercise segments that can be accessed on your remote control. These 10 to 15 minute routines can make a difference. As always, consult your healthcare professional for safe prescription of any exercise routine.2. Meditation. As I am reminded every fall when school begins, stress is part of life. Your body responds to stress in the short-term by producing pain killing substances. However, over the long-term this can prove damaging to your body. Meditation, or any other relaxation techniques, has been proven to reduce tension which will reduce muscle pain. Meditation does take some practice, and there are numerous free resources at your library and even on the Internet to help you get started.3. Massage. Although most of us consider massage to be a luxury, regular human touch has been demonstrated to reduce stress levels, reduce pain levels, and release tension. Massage increases circulation to painful areas, which in turn decreases pain and stimulates healing. Massage is very helpful for people who have chronic muscle tension issues. My advice is to go to licensed massage therapist (spouses don’t count, sorry!)4. Medicine. You hate to take pills, I hate to take pills, but sometimes you need to take pills. Simply put, see your doctor. I say this not just for prescription medications, but for over-the- counter medicines as well. The average person is simply ill-equipped to understand all the possible interactions between different substances. My philosophy is that everything has a side effect, including water (take too much and you drown!)5. Sleep. Getting enough good quality sleep is vital for many things, including dampening pain. When you don’t sleep bad things start to happen. This is true of all ages. Recent studies even link babies’ lack of sleep with later problems of obesity.For example, in our practice, we see quite a few patients with fibromyalgia. This is a condition where the patient perceives even non-painful things as pain. Along with regular exercise and getting enough water, we recommend anything they can do to get good nights sleep. Quite simply, when you are not well rested everything hurts more. Getting quality sleep is a whole separate article, but suffice it to say that unless you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night; you are probably chronically fatigued, which can add to pain.So, consider these areas in helping yourself to manage pain independently. I can’t help with the pain of the new school year!