Relaxation and Meditation Techniques for Chronic Pain

Can relaxation and mediation techniques really help manage my chronic pain?  Many people are skeptical and don’t believe these techniques will work for their pain.  Relaxation and meditation techniques will not cure pain but can help tolerate the pain.  When one is relaxed, the brain naturally produces pain relieving chemicals known as endorphins. Several techniques listed below can help reduce stress and muscle tension and act as one approach to help managing pain symptoms.

Visualization and Breathing
The recommended relaxation techniques are abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, distraction, and mindfulness.  Combining these techniques can have a greater impact on pain management.  Once stress or tension has taken over your body, chronic pain is triggered and in many cases heightened (e.g. flare up).  To take control over the stress, try implementing relaxation and meditation techniques into your daily routines.

Muscle Relaxation
When practicing progressive muscle relaxation, you slowly tense each muscle group followed by relaxing each muscle group.  Abdominal breathing teaches you to correctly use the diaphragm when breathing.  Visualization forms mental images to achieve a peaceful state of mind. After practicing visualization, many notice they are less tense and stressed.  Visualization can help lower blood pressure and heart rate in turn reducing pain.

Distraction Techniques
Distraction techniques can help divert your pain.  Continuing your daily activities and routine of family, work, or social life is a great form of distraction.  Seek distraction by listening to a waterfall, visualizing a walk along a beach, reading a book, gardening, sewing, painting, woodwork, or simply watching television.  Enjoy a hobby with family or friends to divert your attention from your pain.

Mindfulness
Recently, “mindfulness” has become a popular technique to manage chronic pain.  The purpose of this technique is to focus on present time involving your pain, feelings, body, thoughts, and your surroundings.  This allows you to positively change your views and approach in life and deal with the encounters head on.

There are many forms of relaxation and meditation techniques, you should find the one that works best to reduce stress and tension in your life!

To Learn More
Chronic Pain – Health Talk