Chronic back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in America. Recent 2018 studies have shown that an estimated eighty percent of Americans will experience chronic back pain at some point in their lives leaving these individuals to struggle with independence and reliability. There are numerous treatment options that are beneficial and may help alleviate chronic pain. Including, but not limited to, epidural steroid injections, RF Ablations, nerve blocks, and oral medications. Alongside pain management treatments, studies have shown that mindful meditation is extremely advantageous.
Mindful meditation involves focused breathing practices, awareness of one’s body and mind, muscle relaxation, and mental imagery. Mindful meditation has also been proven to increase an individual’s awareness of the sensory world. This includes, hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and feeling throughout the body. Increasing focus on sensations and breathing, especially feeling, may help decrease chronic pain.
How to do it:
- Take a seat-whether it be a chair, floor, or bench. Find one with support
- Pay attention to the position your legs are in-If seated on the floor, cross them in front of you. If in a chair it is okay for the bottom of your feet to be positioned flat on the floor.
- Straighten your torso but do not stiffen it– Sit comfortably allowing your neck and shoulders to relax on top of your spine.
- Let your arms hang parallel to your upper body-Resting them on top of your legs
- Level your chin and close or slightly close your eyelids.
- Relax here for a bit.
- Bring attention to your breathing-focusing on sensations
- It is okay for your mind to wonder-this is normal. Try to focus on your breathing and sensation again if you get distracted
- Pause-Trying pausing and thinking about any physical adjustments, warranted or not, during your meditation time. This trains the body to create space between experience and how you choose to react.
- When you feel fully relaxed and aware of the sensory world, slowly open your eyes.
- Practice-mindful meditation sound simple but it is not necessarily easy.
Several studies have shown the positive effects of mindful meditation and pain management. One example is a study conducted by Dr. Fadel Zeidan with the University of North Carolina. He selected 15 volunteers at the university for a 3-day experiment. With use of an MRI he studied their brain function when exposed to pain through electric stimulation. The study was performed on the volunteers first without mindful meditation and then with mindful meditation. The study resulted in a 40% decreased pain rate with mindful meditation training! Proving this study to be effective!
Due to positive results from studies such as these, many hospitals, medical facilities, schools, and wellness programs are now promoting mindful meditation for more reasons than just chronic back pain. Some other medical benefits of mindful meditation are;
- Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
- Improved sleep and digestion
- Increased Energy
- Improved mental function-decreased depression
- Improved decision-making ability
- Decreased irritability and anxiety
- Decreased headaches
Use mindful meditation along with your pain management therapy to alleviate chronic back pain. Call our office to discuss our treatment options! Our team will be happy to advise you and get you back to living pain-free.