North Vancouver Chiropractor, Dr. Akhavan discusses Meditation as a form of Pain Relief
Presented by: Grand Chiro
Pain is one of the most common health afflictions in the world. In North America alone, over 50 million people suffer from non-malignant chronic pain. One percent of the population is chronically disabled by low back pain – the primary cause of disability for people under the age of 45. And the cost is massive. Medical care for pain adds up to $106 billion a year.
Fortunately, pain research and education have opened a variety of options for pain suffers, including chiropractic. People can find relief beyond invasive surgery or dependence on pain-killing drugs. In fact, some recent research reveals the pain relief benefits of a very holistic practice: meditation.
Meditation – From Religion to Science
Meditative techniques have developed over the centuries from a wide variety of cultures around the world. Some of the oldest evidence of meditation comes from artifacts of the Indus Valley Civilization, which existed in parts of India and Pakistan around 3,500 BC. Later, the influence of meditation spread throughout India and into Southeast Asia with the development of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Today, millions of people all over the globe use mediation to relive stress, improve concentration and seek spiritual enlightenment. But scientists studying the effects of meditation show it can be a potent force for pain relief.
Changing the Focus and Perception of Pain
Meditation helps focus your mind away from pain, but it may also assist your brain to reinterpret pain signals. For example, with consistent practice, you may be able to teach your brain to change the feeling of burning pain into a warm, comforting sensation. Meditation also gives you a feeling of control over your mind and body.
For those who suffer chronic pain, they often turn to meditation to reduce not only physical pain but to help reduce reliance on pain medications, which can have serious side effects. Meditation also reduces stress, irritability, anxiety and depression that long term pain suffers often endure. Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of meditation in dealing with chronic pain.
Medical meditation pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn conducted a study of chronic pain suffers who consistently practiced meditation for ten weeks. Kabat-Zinn discovered that statistically significant reductions were observed in present-moment pain, inhibition of activity by pain, and mood disturbance.
Researchers at Duke University conducted an eight-week pilot study of low back pain suffers who practiced Buddhist meditation technique. Researchers commented, “Preliminary results suggest that loving-kindness (meditation-style) program can be beneficial in reducing pain, anger and psychological distress in patients with persistent low back pain.”
Getting Started with Meditation
The techniques used in meditation can vary from one style to another. Some meditative traditions incorporate chants or other vocalizations. Some practitioners keep their eye open, others keep them closed. But all meditative disciplines place an importance on deep breathing. This helps relax the body and mind.
If you’re a meditation beginner, set aside 15 minutes twice a day to meditate. Morning and evening often work best. Choose a place where you won’t be disturbed. You may want to stretch first to help relax your muscles.
After settling into a comfortable position, breathe deeply. To help keep your concentration, you may want to gently focus your eyes on an object, such as a lit candle. When you first start meditating, you often encounter intruding thoughts. Accept this as part of the process. Allow these thoughts to float away; return your focus to the object. (You may want to purchase a meditation CD to help guide you through your sessions.
Meditation and Chiropractic
Sitting in postures for meditation may aggravate musculoskeletal problems, especially if you suffer from low back pain. North Vancouver Chiropractor, Dr. Akhavan suggest you should discuss with your chiropractor which body position you should use when meditating.
Meditation can be an excellent complementary practice for a holistic approach to health like chiropractic. But don’t stop implementing other recommendations that your chiropractor has made to help relieve pain and heal your body.