Attention chronic pain sufferers! Are you taking advantage of mindful meditation techniques to improve your perception of chronic pain? Don’t get me wrong – this is not to say that the chronic back pain is all in your head. However, scientific studies have shown mindful meditation can enable patients to “train” their brains to perceive chronic back pain as…well…less painful.
This technique can be especially helpful for anyone trying to use less opioids or other pain medications.
How do We Know it Works?
In 2007, researchers at the University of North Carolina conducted a trial to study the effects of mindful meditation on chronic pain sufferers. They were shocked to find that study participants’ perception of pain was significantly reduced after just three 20-minute mindful meditation sessions, spread over three days.
Researcher Fadel Zeidan, a doctoral candidate in psychology at UNC Charlotte and the paper’s lead author, noted, “We knew already that meditation has significant effects on pain perception in long-term practitioners whose brains seem to have been completely changed – we didn’t know that you could do this in just three days, with just 20 minutes a day.”
Want to Try it?
According to this study, you don’t have to become a dedicated Buddhist to reap the huge benefits of mindful meditation. Researchers already knew that the relaxed state of mind created during meditation produces analgesic benefits that can alter an individual’s perception of pain. However, they had no idea that this effect could be gained in only 3 sessions of 20 minute meditations.
As you experiment with different ways to meditate, keep in mind that according to the study, it only took 20 minutes of meditating for three days to help the study group experience less pain sensitivity – both during meditation and after.
Source: www.spine-health.com; Allison Walsh; January 1, 2013.