Chronic pain has become one of the biggest health concerns of the modern world. With long working hours, excessive use of gadgets, lack of physical activity, and intake of nutritionally-compromised diet, chronic pain is prevalent among young and old and male and female alike.
Chronic pain affects people differently. It isn’t merely a sensation; it induces strong emotional reactions, such as anxiety, fear, terror, etc. It all depends on how the brain formulates the pain signals and how individuals respond to these signals, along with factors like their personality, emotions, genetic makeup, lifestyle, and even past experiences.
Although drugs and pain management therapies like radiofrequency neuroablation, acupressure and acupuncture, low-level laser treatment, blocks, and injections work tremendously well in subsiding chronic pain, ancient techniques like yoga and meditation also go a long way.
As chronic pain involves body and mind, mind-body therapies work well in alleviating chronic pain by changing the way an individual perceives pain.
Through this piece of information, we want to introduce you to the mind-body therapies that might help in chronic pain management. Here they are.
- Deep breathing
Deep breathing is cardinal to all other techniques. This simple exercise is easy to learn and works wonders in managing pain.
Inhale as deeply as possible, hold on your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly. If you have a problem in focusing, use a phrase or word to guide you.
- Meditation with guided imagery
Start with deep breathing focusing on each breath. Imagine you are in a restful environment. Imagine everything calm, pleasant, and wonderful. These peaceful images will provide you with a mental escape.
If your mind wanders, bring the image back into focus and begin again. Conjugate it with soothing music.
- Relaxation response
Relaxation response neutralizes stress response that manifests as raising heart rate and puts the body on high alert. Relaxation responses counter this response and calm the body down.
Close your eyes and relax your muscles. Focus on deep breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back and shift your focus on your deep breaths. Spend 10 to 20 minutes doing it. Once you are done, give yourself a minute or two and then slowly open your eyes. Sit quietly for a minute.
Sit quietly and mentally separate your painful parts from your body. For instance, if you have chronic shoulder pain, imagine your shoulder dissociating from your body, and you are free from all the pain. Or, imagine that your mind and body are separate, and so, you feel no pain.
- Yoga and tai chi
Yoga and tai chi entail your mind, body, and soul, hence, sending a calming response to every fiber of your being. These exercises are an integration of controlled breathing, meditation, and body movements that insinuate pain relief. The stretching exercises strengthen the muscles putting you in a better position to deal with chronic pain.
Invest your energy in a hobby or activity that you enjoy, such as painting, reading, cooking, gardening, or walking. Once you have picked up your favorite activity, get fully immersed in it.
Focus on everything that you are doing and the way your emotions and senses are responding to the activity. Channel all your focus on the activity, forgetting every other thing that exists. Just stay aware of your mind, body, and actions.
Try to incorporate this practice into your everyday life.
The bottom line
Chronic pain can affect every aspect of your life. It can interfere with your day-to-day life, giving way to bad mental responses, such as frustration and terror.
Use these mind-body therapies to mellow down the pain. And most importantly, refrain from negative thought because positive thinking renders relief.