How Meditation Can Be Used to Help You Manage Your Chronic Pain

Regardless of meditation's religious roots, science has shown that it can be an effective method for coping with numerous physical and mental ailments, including chronic pain.

You can practice meditation virtually anywhere, and it doesn't even require much of a time commitment. Meditating for 30 minutes a day over the course of eight weeks promotes positive physiological changes in the person's brain, including benefits such as a reduction in stress, anxiety, and body pain are sometimes realized even sooner. If you suffer from chronic pain, talk to your doctor or a physical health professional about incorporating meditation into your overall pain management strategy.

Ways That Meditation Helps with Pain Management

Though meditation has been shown to improve practitioners' physical and mental well-being in a multitude of ways, there are a few specific benefits that are invaluable if you're attempting to manage your chronic pain: 

1. Good Posture—Despite popular depictions of meditators, you don't have to sit with your legs contorted to properly practice meditation. Whether you're sitting in a chair, sitting with your legs crossed, or sitting in the classical lotus position, you can fully experience the benefits of meditation. However, regardless of your sitting position, you should always maintain a good posture.

Keeping your back and neck straight helps you breathe more deeply and promotes relaxation in addition to a meditative state of mind. Moreover, meditating will condition you to maintain a good posture throughout the day, which can do wonders for chronic back and neck pain.

2. Pain Tolerance—Meditation has been shown to increase to increase practitioners' pain tolerance. Brain scans have shown that when pain arises, non-meditators tend to show a lot of neural activity in the evaluation and language centers of their brains. On the other hand, the brains of people who meditate tend to emphasize the physical experience they are presently undergoing. In other words, meditation helps you avoid mentally dwelling on the pain you experience, and thus your tolerance for pain increases.

3. Pain Awareness—As a final bonus, being more aware of your present physical experience helps you recognize what triggers your pain. Unfortunately, in many cases of chronic pain, the underlying physical symptoms are unavoidable. However, in some cases, seemingly trivial tendencies such as sitting with an improper posture or tensing your muscles due to stress can exacerbate your chronic pain. Practicing meditation regularly can help you recognize these tendencies in your daily life and thus avoid them.

Practice Makes Perfect.

To start meditating, consult your doctor or a physical health professional so you can evaluate the medical credentials of local meditation centers and choose the best facility for your needs.

To establish your meditation habit, dedicate a specific time and place to sit and mediate every single day. Using a consistent time and place will help condition you to get into the proper mindset for meditation daily. No matter what kind of mood you're in, use this dedicated time to sit in your favorite chair or on your favorite pillow for twenty to thirty minutes a day. Within no time meditation will become an integral part of your daily routine.

To begin, start with a simple breathing meditation. Sit up straight and breathe deeply in regular intervals. Try not to let your mind wander with thoughts, emotions, and daydreaming. Instead, simply focus your attention on the feeling of your own breath as you inhale and exhale. Mentally count your breaths up to 10 over and over again, resetting your count whenever thoughts or emotions interrupt you. Over time this will condition you to remain aware and focused on the present moment in your life, which will reduce psychosomatic pains as well as unintentional muscle tension when you're faced with stressful situations. 

Meditation can be an invaluable tool in your repertoire for treating chronic pain. Though it likely won't totally replace your need for physical therapy and medication, meditating once a day can be extremely beneficial in overcoming your long-term physical pain. For more assistance, visit resources like to manage chronic pain.