Mindful Meditation vs. Chronic Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain, you’ve probably tried all kinds of treatment options. But have you considered mindful meditation?

Mindful mediation is an appealing option for treating your pain because it has an unusual benefit; it places you in a position of control. Unlike pain medications or surgical procedures, meditation is not done to you—but rather it is something you do for yourself.

See Chronic Pain Coping Techniques - Pain Management

Zen Rocks and Meditation Learning to relax your body and mind takes practice—especially if you are experiencing pain.
See
11 Chronic Pain Control Techniques

Of course, you may not have the time to become an expert in various meditation techniques. But a recent study has demonstrated that committing even a minimal amount of time to learning mediation techniques can in turn have a positive impact on your pain.1

Article continues below

Study insights

Here are the 3 insights of the study conducted on mindful mediation and perceptions of pain:

  1. Minimal meditation quickly and substantially reduces pain
    The study demonstrated that the participants' perception of pain was significantly reduced after three 20-minute sessions of mindful meditation (spread out over three days). Other studies have demonstrated that meditation produces analgesic benefits that can alter your perception of pain—but it was thought that these benefits were available only after extensive mediation training.

    So then, a short, simple course on mediation may be able to significantly reduce your perception of your pain. And for many, self-administered training may be effective.

    See Modern Ideas: The Gate Control Theory of Chronic Pain

  2. Meditation produces lasting results
    Another interesting finding from the study is that participants who practiced meditation experienced a reduction in their perception of pain even after the conclusion of their meditation sessions. This indicates that meditation may result in an overall reduction in perceptions of pain, not just during or around the time of a meditation session.

    These findings are in contrast to a control group that was tested using distraction, which had some analgesic effect—but only during the time of the distraction.

    See Modern Theories of Chronic Pain

  3. Mindful meditation is more effective than distraction
    For the purposes of the study, the analgesic effects of meditation were compared with relaxation techniques and distraction. While all three interventions lessened the participants' perceptions of pain, meditation was more effective in producing an overall analgesic effect (not just in addressing the most intense pain sensations).

    See Chronic Pain As a Disease: Why Does It Still Hurt?

What does this mean for you?

If your chronic pain is severe, mindful mediation is not likely to be a cure-all for all of your pain-related issues. But the study discussed above provides more than enough reasons to try mindful mediation to see if it can bring you meaningful relief.

There is no right or wrong way to meditate—and typically all you need is a quiet, dark room. You can start with as little as 5-10 minutes in the morning, or try it during your lunch break at work.

See Pain Management for Chronic Back Pain

They key to establishing a program of mindful mediation is to start right away. So don’t put it off, set aside several 10-minute blocks over the next few days and you may find significant relief from your chronic pain.

Learn more:

Healing Benefits of Yoga

Tai Chi for Posture and Back Pain

References:

  1. Zeidan F, Gordon NS, Merchant J, Goolkasian P. The effects of brief mindfulness meditation training on experimentally induced pain. J Pain. 2010;11(3):199-209.
Post written by