Mindfulness Activity #117
Mindfulness for Pain
Good Morning. Yesterday, I injured my shoulder and it was and still is very uncomfortable. One of the benefits of mindfulness that I haven’t discussed very much in our series is its ability to manage pain. Many years ago, when I was an intern, I completed a rotation in a Pain Management Clinic. It was a place where medicine and psychology came together many years before integrated medicine was a well-respected field.
I led people in hypnosis, biofeedback, and also mindfulness practices designed to assist people with chronic pain. I still remember a very young woman, aged 22. She had been hit by a taxi that pinned her against a cement wall breaking bones and severing nerves in both her legs. Miraculously, she was not killed. She had multiple surgeries and still had her legs, but she experienced terrible pain in her legs and feet. I was impressed with her positive attitude and I wanted to help her, so I researched pain relief techniques and met with my supervisors. We devised a guided imaginal script. I was doubtful about this practice that seemed like the “magic tonics” from the 18oo’s. Nevertheless, I worked with her and amazingly her pain diminished significantly week by week. That rotation, I worked with people with treatment resistant migraines and back surgeries that had failed. It was the ability to control breathing and attention that seemed helpful to me, but for many, the power of combining these with visualization has the best results. Current research supports the combined power of mental imagery and relaxation. People can use visualization practices to lower heart rate, change blood chemistry and even potentiate the effects of chemotherapy.
This 5-minute script is perfect for anyone, whether you are in pain or not.
If you actually have a headache or some chronic pain, you may wish to try this 10-minute guided visualization meditation.
Use these practices whenever you have a headache or any other pain that you understand and are trying to cope with.
Have a nice day!