Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Control

Mindfulness has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years, making its way into various aspects of our mental health and wellbeing. Taking its inspiration from Eastern practices like Zen Buddhism, the concept is now widely recognized in the West as a helpful way to calm and center the mind through gentle and focused awareness on the present moment. 

Its applications and benefits in modern life are potentially far-reaching, helping people manage their stress levels, decrease their anxiety, improve their sleep, and more. However, perhaps one of the lesser known yet profound benefits of mindfulness is its potential to manage and even reduce pain. In this article, we will take a closer look at how mindfulness meditation can help to control pain making it a powerful tool for enhancing overall wellbeing and quality of life.

What the Evidence Shows

Numerous studies have been carried out in recent years to study the effect of mindfulness practices on pain management and improved patient outcomes. One of the mindfulness techniques that have received much attention in this area is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). 

Originally developed in 1979 as a method for reducing stress by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor of medicine, MSBR has since been used in various other fields, including pain management. One study looked at the effects of MSBR as a complementary treatment for chronic low back pain (CLBP). While further randomized control trials are needed to study the long-term effect of MBSR therapy on physical function, the results of the study found MBSR therapy did improve physical function at eight weeks and at six months follow-up, for individuals with CLBP.

Not Just a Placebo

Another study into the neuroimaging effects of mindfulness meditation, showed reliable results in reducing experimentally induced and clinical pain by engaging multiple mechanisms in the brain that are different from those responsible for creating a placebo effect. These findings highlight the promising potential of mindfulness methods in producing long-term improvements in painful symptoms.

Aside from MSBR, other mindfulness-based techniques that have been studied for their pain-relieving potential include acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which encourages embracing emotions rather than resisting them, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which focuses on reducing negative thinking and depression. A study into the treatment of chronic pain found that current acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions, while not superior to traditional cognitive behavioral treatments, can still be good alternatives.

Perhaps one of the most notable and impactful studies into the mindfulness meditation technique and its ability to alleviate or manage pain is in the area of opioid misuse and addiction. Prescribed to help patients manage chronic and acute pain, the widespread use of these drugs led to the opioid crisis which saw drug overdose death rates rise from 49,860 in 2019 to 81,806 in 2022.

The study confirmed mindfulness meditation as a beneficial technique for significantly reducing pain in experimental and clinical settings and highlights its importance for the millions of chronic pain patients looking for drug-free, self-managed pain relief.

Pain-Relief Applications

These findings clearly point to the efficacy of mindfulness mediation in helping people manage and reduce the symptoms of mild to chronic pain. In everyday life, this can have powerful practical applications for helping people who suffer from health conditions that produce chronic pain such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain and more.

It can also be an effective tool for helping manage post surgical pain such as for those who have undergone surgical procedures like rhinoplasties, spinal surgery, joint replacement and other invasive procedures that require recovery time. If you are interested in short nose rhinoplasty information, visit this site to find out more.

Mindfulness Meditation

The following mindfulness meditation tips can be helpful in managing pain:

  • Find a comfortable position: Lie down on your back in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing as you take gentle, unhurried breaths in and out.
  • Tune into your body: Notice the sensations you feel. If you notice any areas of tension or pain, accept them with non-judgement, allowing them to be as they are.
  • Soften into painful sensations: Observe any painful parts of the body and soften into them with the breath, allowing your body to relax as much as possible.
  • Be patient and detached: Continue this practice for any other area of discomfort in the body, taking a patient and detached attitude with regard to the outcome.

By focusing solely on bodily sensations without attaching any stories or judgements to them, the emotional response around the pain can subside helping to manage and reduce the symptoms.

This post includes collaborative content.

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