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Experience Pain Relief with Mindfulness

  • Dr. Steve Young
  • 20 Feb, 2023

Chronic pain affects millions of people around the world, and it can be incredibly debilitating. While there are many medications and therapies available to manage chronic pain, they often come with side effects and can be expensive. On the other hand, mindfulness is a natural way to treat chronic pain that is free, available to everyone, and has no bad side effects.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. It involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judgment. By practicing mindfulness, you can become more aware of your body and how it feels, which can help you deal with chronic pain.

Studies have shown that being mindful is a good way to treat chronic pain at home. One study that was published in the Journal of Pain showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help people with fibromyalgia who have a lot of chronic pain. Another study that was published in the Clinical Journal of Pain found that mindfulness meditation can help people with chronic lower back pain feel less pain and less pain that hurts.

So how can you use the power of mindfulness to manage your chronic pain? Here are some tips:

Start with simple mindfulness exercises

If you are new to mindfulness, start with simple exercises that can help you become more aware of your body and the sensations you are experiencing. One exercise you can try is the body scan meditation, which involves lying down and bringing your attention to each part of your body, starting at the top of your head and working your way down to your toes. As you scan your body, notice any areas of tension or discomfort and focus on relaxing those areas.

Another exercise you can try is mindful breathing, which involves focusing on your breath as it goes in and out of your body. As you breathe, notice the sensation of air entering and leaving your body, and bring your attention back to your breath whenever your mind starts to wander.

Practice mindfulness regularly

To see the benefits of mindfulness for chronic pain relief, it is important to practice regularly. Set aside time each day for mindfulness practice, even if it is just a few minutes. Consistency is key when it comes to mindfulness, so try to make it a habit.

Use mindfulness to manage stress

Stress can make chronic pain worse, so using mindfulness to deal with stress can help you feel less pain. When you are feeling stressed, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breath. Notice any physical sensations you are experiencing, and try to let go of any thoughts or emotions that are causing you stress.

Focus on the present moment

When you are experiencing chronic pain, it can be easy to get caught up in worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. However, by focusing on the present moment, you can reduce your pain and increase your sense of well-being. When you are feeling pain, bring your attention to the sensations you are experiencing in the present moment, without judgment. Notice any thoughts or emotions that come up, and try to let them go.

Practice self-compassion

Living with chronic pain can be challenging, and it is important to be kind to yourself. Self-compassion means being kind and understanding to yourself and acknowledging the problems you are having. When you are feeling pain, remind yourself that it is not your fault and that you are doing the best you can.

Mindfulness is a powerful home remedy for chronic pain relief. By practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, you can become more aware of your body and how it feels, which can help you deal with pain. Remember to start with simple exercises, practice regularly, use mindfulness to manage stress, focus on the present moment, and practice self-compassion. You can get the benefits of mindfulness and relief from your chronic pain if you practice it often.

Mindfulness is not a replacement for medical treatment, and if you have chronic pain, you should always talk to a doctor. On the other hand, mindfulness can be used as a supplement to help you deal with pain and improve your overall health.

In addition to mindfulness, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to help manage chronic pain. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can all help reduce pain and improve your quality of life.

If you are new to mindfulness, there are many resources available to help you get started. Books, podcasts, and apps can all provide guidance and support for mindfulness practice. You can also consider taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course, which is a structured program that teaches mindfulness meditation and other techniques for managing stress and chronic pain.

Chronic pain can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are natural remedies available that can help. Mindfulness is a powerful way to deal with long-term pain that anyone can use and that has no bad side effects. By regularly practicing mindfulness and making other changes to your life, you can lessen your pain and improve your overall health.

References:

  1. Garland, E. L., et al. (2014). Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement for chronic pain and prescription opioid misuse: Results from an early-stage randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(3), 448-459. doi: 10.1037/a0035798
  2. Black, D. S., et al. (2015). Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373(1), 13-24. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12998
  3. Zeidan, F., et al. (2015). Mindfulness meditation-based pain relief employs different neural mechanisms than placebo and sham mindfulness meditation-induced analgesia. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(46), 15307-15325. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2542-15.2015
  4. Cherkin, D. C., et al. (2016). Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction vs cognitive behavioral therapy or usual care on back pain and functional limitations in adults with chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 315(12), 1240-1249. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.2323
  5. Gaylord, S. A., et al. (2011). Mindfulness training reduces the severity of fibromyalgia syndrome symptoms: results of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Pain, 12(3), 281-289. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2010.09.002

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