The mindfulness paradox: why meditation can help relieve pain

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    Living with chronic pain can be a struggle. Even with medication, it can seem like nothing helps. It’s not only the spot in pain that feels hurt — the mind is suffering just as much dealing with it while trying to find ways to escape. Mindfulness for pain management is a powerful tool that can help reduce the amount of pain you experience. The mindfulness paradox explains why meditation can help relieve pain.

    Disclaimer: Always consult with your medical practitioner on pain or health issues. 

    By Beth Rush

    Meditation and Pain Relief Research

    Meditation is helpful for many things and dealing with pain is one of them. You can use it to channel different pathways in the brain that deal with pain in a way that differs from other treatments. Over time, meditation can change your brain structure to deal with pain better.


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    Mindfulness can help with pain relief according to research. You don’t have to find a sunset and beach to practice.


    A 2018 study reported meditation and mindfulness practiced long-term could change the brain’s structure. The change happens by the cortical thickness in the brain allows you to be less sensitive to pain.

    Mindfulness for Pain Management

    Mindfulness meditation can transform your life and help you deal with chronic pain better. Many people suffer from back, neck and other discomforts that disrupt their day. Most pain comes from daily life wear and tear on the body. Aromatherapy, yoga, deep breathing and meditation relieve back pain and stress.


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    Meditation allows you to observe things beyond the present pain. You become aware of the pain, emotions, thoughts, and how they interact. One thing that happens is the pain is present, but the whole experience is different. Mindfulness gives a sense of mental foundation to change the perspective of the pain.

    When the pain you are feeling is constantly on your mind, it acts as a mental lens that only focuses on the pain. Mindfulness meditation allows you to change the lens, which makes the pain seem smaller and more manageable. You see your thoughts as another external part of you instead of internalizing them and freeing yourself from the mental experience of pain.


    Buddha Weekly Back pain can be relieved with mindfulness meditation Buddhism
    Pain can be reduced through mindfulness meditation according to research studies.


    Mindfulness Reframes Your Pain

    Pain is the body’s natural way of letting you know an area of your body needs attention. It plays a crucial role in maintaining your physical well-being. Pain is not the enemy since it is essential to being human.

    When the pain goes on for a long time or is intense, it can be hard to remember it’s a normal function. Meditative approaches help you develop a plan to transform the relationship with the experiences. Meditation techniques will help you cultivate an attitude towards situations that lessen the effects. Once you learn how the pain is weighing on the mind, it will make controlling it easier.


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    Practice Mindfulness Daily — schedule it in your agenda.


    When practiced regularly, the physical sensation of pain from the mental and emotional processes becomes just another sensation. The development of mindfulness will bring freedom to chronic pain.

    Using Meditation as a Pain Relief Aid

    Research supports using meditation to change the brain’s sensitivity to pain. Pain is unavoidable, so learning how to manage it better will help you through life situations when it is inevitable.

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    Beth Rush

    Author | Buddha Weekly

    Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She is a well-respected writer in the personal wellness space and shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, holistic health, and mental health. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag.

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