Hemophilia: Relaxation and distraction

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Learn relaxation and distraction techniques to help relieve pain from hemophilia.

Along with supportive care, medicines and physiotherapy discussed in this module, there are other helpful ways you can learn to manage pain. Using relaxation and distraction techniques, you can decrease the pain that comes from acute bleeding and chronic pain if you have arthritis from prior bleeds. These techniques also help to alleviate stress and can improve your mood.


Relaxation is a skill you can learn and improve on with practice. When you are relaxed, your body is limp and your muscles are loose. If you are sitting in a chair or lying in bed, you might feel your body sink as you let go of your tension. You will also notice your breathing become slow and deep.

Relaxation exercise

Read through the steps below and then practice while sitting in a cozy chair or lying down.

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose.
  • Feel your tummy rise as you take that deep breath in.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds, until you count to five.
  • Roll your shoulders in a big circle and then let your shoulders drop loose.
  • Think RELAX.
  • Breathe out through your mouth, slow and relaxed, as if you’re softly whistling.
  • Feel more relaxed with each breath you take.

There are many other relaxation techniques you can easily learn. For more information, visit the Relaxation module in the JIA Learning Hub.


As we have mentioned in this module, it is your brain that perceives pain. Distraction is a technique you can use to change the pain signals that your body is sending to your brain. Distraction can help you to put your attention onto other things and not focus on the pain.


Imagery is a distraction technique that can help you deal with pain.

  • Imagine being in a pleasant place, maybe on a beach or in a park with your family and friends. This is much more interesting to think about than pain. Involve as many of your five senses as you can.
  • Picture your pain as having a certain shape, size, or colour, and then change it. For example, if your pain in your joint feels like the size of a baseball, change it in your mind to the size of a golf ball, or a marble, or even smaller.

Imagery can also help you with the stress and tension that builds in your body from worrying. By thinking about something pleasant, your body can become more relaxed.

When you practice imagery, you need to become involved in the scene as much as you can. By becoming more involved, you will have less attention to spend on other thoughts.

There are many distraction exercises that you might find useful when you are experiencing any pain. To learn more, visit the Distraction module in the Pain Resource Centre.

Last updated: March 13th 2019