Millions of Americans battle chronic diseases such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Two common symptoms of these conditions are pain and fatigue --both take a massive toll on your life. They disrupt your sleep, interfere with daily activities, and force you to take time off from work. Even worse, they can put you off participating in your favorite hobbies or passions.

When medications and vitamins don't suppress pain and fatigue, don't despair. You may have run out of ideas, but not options. Here are a few you should give a try:

  • Try herbal remedies. There's nothing new about using herbs and other foods to relieve pain or combat fatigue. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, nearly 40 percent of Americans used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in 2007. That means 60 percent haven't tried it - and you may be one of them.

    Pain management is one of the key reasons people are likely to try CAM. Herbal pain relievers that are gaining popularity and have scientific proof on their side include capsaicin, vitamin D, arnica, bromelain (from pineapple) and gingerols (from ginger).

    Fatigue-fighting herbs and nutrients include ginseng, royal jelly, iron, vitamin B12 supplements, coenzyme Q10, and acetyl-L-carnitine.

    Visit a naturopath or holistic doctor to learn more about managing pain using herbs, spices, or other foods.

  • Consider guided imagery. This mind-body technique has been around for centuries and can be used to treat pain or fatigue, especially if stress increases these symptoms. Guided imagery teaches you how to use your imagination to lower stress, relieve aches and enhance your body's ability to heal, according to the National Pain Foundation.

    Guided imagery trains your senses to focus on other sensory queues and increases relaxation. Once you're relaxed, the suggestion of soothing images such as numbness or comfort, or pain-relieving endorphins flowing into your blood help to alleviate your symptoms. You can purchase guided imagery CDs or DVDs, or find a practitioner in your area through a simple Google search.

  • Increase exercise. When you're coping with pain and fatigue, exercise is likely the last thing you want to do. However, studies show exercise is effective at relieving aches and also reduces your dependence on over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. Exercise is also a bona fide energy-booster, alleviating fatigue even in patients with leukemia, breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. In some cases, exercise may even be better than taking a stimulant.

    When pain and fatigue are chronic don't try to start exercising on your own. Consult a physical therapist who can create a customized routine that takes into consideration the causes of your pain symptoms (for instance knee osteoarthritis), and that helps you fight fatigue.

  • Try stress reduction techniques. When you're coping with pain or fatigue, it's highly recommended that you try to reduce stress as much as possible. Stress is implicated in both these conditions: Some studies show it can actually cause pain, make it worse, or slow your recovery from conditions that cause it. Chronic stress is mentally and emotionally exhausting. Plus, it can disrupt adrenal gland activity, which can lead to fatigue.

    Standardstress-reduction techniques include deep breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, meditation and massages. However, you should also try to prevent stress. Look closely at areas in your life that are causing you stress - it could be your home life, job, finances, or an ailing parent. Find creative solutions for managing these situations and don't be afraid to ask for help.

    When pain and fatigue are overwhelming, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. They may be related to potentially life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and depression.