Chronic pain is frustrating and disruptive, but mindfulness meditation may be able to play a small role in the management of your pain. Mindfulness meditation involves listening intently to your body while concentrating on your breathing. While more research has to be done on mindfulness’s effectiveness as a pain management method, early mindfulness studies have shown a small effect of improved pain symptoms compared with treatment as usual.
Mindfulness meditation also functions as an anxiety and stress reduction method. Stress reduction has benefits for people with chronic pain, because stress drives up cortisol levels, which tightens up muscles. More well-defined evidence is needed to decisively nail down the positive effects of mindfulness on pain management, but in the meantime, mindfulness is an easy approach for chronic pain patients to try.
These are beginner tips for starting mindfulness meditation to achieve a controlled state of mind.
Find the place in your home where you feel most comfortable. Once you do, find a position that feels the most comfortable for your body. You can sit, stand, or lie down. Light a candle or play some calming music if that helps you feel peaceful.
Become an Observer.
Get in tune with your own body. Keep your eyes closed and focus on the thoughts in your mind and the sensations throughout your body. Pay attention to the different temperatures, tension, and rhythms.
Focus on your Breath.
Breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Follow your breath as it goes in and out. Focus on the inhale and exhale for about 5 minutes and let go of your thoughts. When you feel your mind wander, gently guide it back to focusing on your breathing. This is the most powerful and simple form of relaxation.
Lift your Gaze.
When you’re ready to wrap up, gently open your eyes. Pause and notice your surroundings. Notice the sounds and sights around you and the thoughts and feelings going on inside you. Think about how you’d like to continue with your day and go for it.
Mindfulness meditation may be able to play a role in chronic pain management, but if you feel persistent pain in your neck or back, it may be time to see a specialist. Call us today at (303)-327-5511 to make an appointment with one of our physicians or physical therapists.