Can relaxation and mediation techniques really help manage your chronic pain? There are many skeptics. Relaxation and meditation techniques may not cure pain, but they can help manage the pain so it becomes more tolerable. 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 to help managing pain symptoms.
Visualization and Breathing
Some common 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.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation by slowly tensing each muscle group followed by relaxing each muscle group. Abdominal breathing teaches you to correctly use the diaphragm when breathing. During deep breathing exercises, try visualization techniques to form mental images that can achieve a peaceful state of mind. Visualization can help lower blood pressure and heart rate and be used as a distraction for reducing pain symptoms.
Distraction techniques can help divert attention away from 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 soothing audio (e.g. waterfall), visualizing a walk along a beach, reading a book, gardening, sewing, painting, woodwork, painting, or simply watching television. Enjoy a hobby with family or friends to divert your attention from your pain.
Recently, “mindfulness” has become a popular technique to manage chronic pain. The purpose of this technique is to focus on being present and acknowledging your pain, feelings, body, thoughts, and surroundings. This may help you to positively change your views and outlook on 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!