This week’s article looks at looks at how meditation can help reduce Chronic Pain.
There have been many studies on the effectiveness of meditation with both acute and chronic pain.
When we are living with Chronic Pain or illness, we often talk and think about fighting it – feeling anger – but is that the best way? An article in Psychology Today suggested that seeing health as a struggle could actually made your suffering worse, and that it might be more effective to explore the sensations of pain and illness as they rose and fell in your body – using a mindfulness meditation. And while this might initially seem like the worst thing imaginable, the latest medical advances show that it can be more powerful than the most commonly prescribed painkillers.
Another excellent article is in The Atlantic on Treating Chronic Pain with Meditation. One study reported that meditation seems to reduce pain related neural activity, decrease stress and that in turn decreases pain. And you don’t have to be a zen master, with years of practice – it reports another study that showed a 40% reduction in pain in 4 days.
Not all meditations are the same – at least terms of short term results. It seems thatmindfulness based work best in relation to health, particularly those specifically designed to help healing and influenced by neuroscience. I have certainly found this to be true for my health. One meditation that I teach is called Body Calm and it is a specifically designed to help your body to heal, by helping it to rest and recover.
Reducing overthinking is a key way of helping recovery and reducing chronic pain.
We spend a lot of time in our heads and caught up in our thinking, and this makes it almost impossible to relax properly or to experience a calm mind and rested relaxed body. The mind and body work in unison and when you are stuck in stressful thinking, if you stop and notice, you will find that your body is similarly stressed and tense. You may also notice yourself having more headaches, pains, and bouts of ill health.
Practice watching your thoughts, body sensations and emotions – there is no need to try to stop them. By watching, you get less involved and take the voice in your head a lot less seriously. TIP Imagine you have a conveyor belt rolling past and it is full of thoughts, emotions and body sensations. Some jump off, so when you notice you have been off thinking or suffering, put it back onto the conveyor belt.
Make peace with your body – As you get less and less stressed by the content of your thoughts, this then reduces the battles with your body, and enables it to relax and rest better and this leads to easier healing. When you are battling with your body you are using a lot of energy, that could be better used for healing.
Be open to buried emotions and hurts – Chronic Pain is often associated with anger, hurt, resentment and unforgiveness. As we get older, we have more experiences that can lead to buried emotions. Resolving or just accepting past hurts can be very liberating.
If you would like to explore this further, do get in touch with me
If you are interested in reading more on the benefits of meditation, then see my earlier blogs on meditation. One that I find particularly fascinating is the Harvard study showed that meditation can rebuild your brain in less than 8 weeks, and other studies show that meditation has a huge in impact on stress and aging.
Harvard Unveils MRI Study Proving Meditation Literally Rebuilds The Brain’s Gray Matter In 8 Weeks
Stress Aging and Meditation Part 1
Stress Aging and Meditation Part 2