Studies show that sufferers of fibromyalgia, chronic migraine headaches, and arthritis may find pain relief through meditation. Chronic pain affects millions of adults in the United States, causing many sufferers to turn to medications, physical therapy, and other treatments to alleviate their symptoms.
Meditation, a form of relaxation, could be a practical approach to managing pain minus undesirable side effects. It is known by many to reduce stress and anxiety. Let’s explore the latest information on how meditation helps to ease pain and improve the quality of life for chronic pain sufferers.
The Role of Endorphins
This relaxation method may be a tool that assists in releasing endorphins, thus relieving pain. The body emits endorphins after enjoyable activities, including exercise, laughter, and pleasant physical contact. Studies demonstrate that these endorphins may help to reduce pain intensity. A 2020 study found that participants with chronic pain who undertook a two-month mindfulness-based stress reduction course experienced reduced depression and discomfort.
Meditation may also boost pain tolerance by lowering cortisol, a leading cause of inflammation. Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces in high-stress situations. Increased cortisol levels can create a higher risk of diabetes and increased cholesterol. Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain, may respond well to meditation techniques.
Surprisingly, there are over 25 types of meditation techniques.
Here are just a few:
- Yoga is one of the more well-known forms of meditation, combining a physical aspect with mental awareness and focused breathing.
- Guided Imagery involves intentional concentration on a specific image or series of mental pictures.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation is also known as Body Scan Meditation. Attentiveness focuses on how each body part feels, beginning with one foot, then moving upward throughout the body, acknowledging each sensation felt.
- Mindfulness is without a specific focus, instead allowing present thoughts and emotional awareness to flow freely as if an observer.
- Sound meditation uses instruments like singing bowls or tuning forks that create steady, specific vibrations. This technique aids in relaxation and reduction of heart rate. Even sound machines for purchase and digital applications provide relaxation frequencies.
For those with pain, meditation is an attractive treatment option compared to medications that can have adverse side effects. Meditation releases endorphins, lowering stress hormones like cortisol to reduce inflammation and improve pain tolerance. It may help reduce depression and emotional distress. Furthermore, patients with chronic pain can use it as an adjunct to their existing treatments to provide additional pain relief. Much promising research indicates that this technique may be vital in managing chronic pain more effectively.
The good news is that meditation is easy to research and access. You can begin your discovery once you narrow down the type you enjoy. As with any new treatment, it is imperative to consult with your physician before implementing a new routine.
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