Treating Chronic Pain Through Meditation
Pain management is a huge challenge in our country, and living with chronic pain and illness can be intolerable and draining. Many have tried tons of different outlets to try and ease the pain, from pain killers, to Botox injections, to surgeries. But what happens when all of these options have been exhausted and your mind starts to suffer as well? Since pain also has a largely negative effect on the psyche, it is important to learn how to use this to your advantage.
Mindfulness, or mindfulness meditation, has been used since ancient times for a treatment for chronic pain and illness. In clinical trials, it had been shown to reduce chronic pain by 57%, and in accomplished meditators there was a reduction of over 90%. In addition, imagining has shown that mindfulness helps mellow out brain patterns that contribute to pain. Over time this soothing of the brain patterns can help alter the structure of the brain itself, creating a chain effect that causes the patients to no longer feel pain with the same intensity. — if they even notice it at all.
Meditation for chronic pain involves focusing on different parts of the body day and observing with your mind's eye what you see. This enables you to see your mind and body in action, to observe and accept painful sensations as they arrive, and let go of fighting with them. Practicing this kind of meditation helps you understand that pain comes in two different forms: primary and secondary. Primary pain derives from illness, injury, or trauma to the body or nervous system. Secondary pain comes from your mind and body’s reaction to the primary pain, but often is more noticed.
If you don’t know where to start with chronic pain meditation, here are a few links and quick recaps of the different kinds that can be used!
— Body Scan Meditation: The purpose is to tune into your body and reconnect with your physical self, and to notice any sensations you are feeling without judgment.
— Breath Awareness Meditation: This helps regulate your heart rate, stress levels, and fatigue. Your breath can help you identify whether your mind is calm or agitated, and can also help you be more aware of your body physically.
— Transcendental Meditation: A meditation technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self realization through meditation, mantras (“I am not in pain” “I am healing”) and other yoga practices.
Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to brain fog. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment. This information is for guidance only and is not intended to provide professional medical advice.