Positive thinking, relaxation, meditation, and other mind-body techniques can definitely help reduce the intensity of your pain and need for pain medication.
Drugs can help get rid of pain, but they also come with many unpleasant, and serious side effect when used for a long time. If you have fibromyalgia, arthritis, backache, or other chronic pain that disturbs your daily life, you may want to look for ways to relieve discomfort that doesn’t involve drugs. Many age-old techniques-such as yoga and meditation- as well as some newer variations may definitely help reduce your need for various pain medications.
Past research shows that pain involves both the body and the mind, so different mind-body therapies do have the capacity to alleviate pain by changing the way a person preemies it. How you feel pain depends upon your genetic makeup, personality, emotions, and lifestyle. It also depends on your past experience. If you’ve been in pain for a while, your brain may have rewired itself to perceive emanating pain signals even after the signals aren’t being sent out anymore.
The Benson-Henry Institute of Mind-Body Medicine based at the Harvard-affiliated General Hospital in Massachusetts specializes in helping patients learn various techniques to alleviate anxiety, stress, and pain. Dr. Glen Salwsby, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical Scholl who works with patients in the Benson-Henry Institute, is also in the favor of patients learning various techniques so that they can finally choose the ones that work best for them. He feels these techniques are like flavors of ice cream. Depending upon your mood, you may want a different flavor-or maybe a different technique, “Dr. Glen says. So practicing a combination of various mind-body skills will increase the efficacy of pain relief.
The following easy-to-follow techniques can help you take your mind off your pain and may definitely help to override established pain signals.
- Eliciting the relaxation response-It’s easy and is also an antidote to the stress response. It pups up the heart rate and also puts various body systems on high alert, and also turns down body’s reactions. Once you close your eyes and relax your muscles, it’s important to concentrate on deep breathing. Once thoughts break through, gently say “refresh”, and quickly return to breathing repetition. Repeat this for 12-25 minutes. Afterwards, site in a quiet posture for two to three minutes while your thoughts return. Now open your eyes and sit quietly for another minute.
- Deep breathing– It’s an integral part of all techniques, so deep breathing is one that should be learnt fast. Take a deep breathe, hold it for few seconds, and then exhale. To ensure focus, use any phrase or word to guide you. For instance, you can breathe in “peace” and “breathe out” tension. There are also many apps for tablets and smartphones that uses images and sound to help you in maintaining your breathing rhythms.
- Meditation with guided imagery– When you begin deep breathing, pay close attention to each breath. Then imagine being in a restful environment or listen to a calming music. If you find your mind wandering, quickly say “refresh.” And call the image back into focus.
- Yoga and tai chi-These are mind-body exercises incorporate meditation, breath control, and body movements to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Apps and videos can easily help you get started. If you enroll in a tai chi or yoga class at a health club or gym, your health insurance may subsidize the cost.
- Mindfulness- Pick any activity you enjoy—Walk in nature, read poetry, cook, or do gardening and get fully immersed in it. Notice each detail of what you’re doing and how your emotions and senses are responding. Practice bringing mindfulness to each and every aspect of your life.
- Positive thinking-When you’re ill, we often tend to become fixated on all that you aren’t able to do. Retrain your focus on all that you can easily do to what you can’t will definitely give you a much better view of yourself and the world at large. Keep a journal of which you list all the things you’re thankful for each day. Everybody has limitations, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t still whole human beings.