Based on the best quality studies of general population samples, the estimated prevalence of chronic pain in the UK is 43%. This equates to just under 28 million people.
Drugs are very effective and essential for many at managing and getting rid of pain, but they often have unpleasant side effects.
If you suffer or currently living with musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia, backache or any other chronic pain that inhibits your quality of life, there are alternative ways that you may want to consider that doesn’t involve the use of drugs.
Are you familiar with meditative walking, tai chi, breathing exercises, positive thinking, yoga and other mind-body techniques that will give you the ability to reduce your reliance on medication to manage your pain?
Studies have shown that chronic pain might not only be caused by physical injury but also by stress and emotional issues. In particular, people who have experienced trauma and suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are often at a higher risk to develop chronic pain.
Events or stressors that make you anxious or upset, such as a death in the family or the loss of a job, release cortisol in your body causing inflammation, increased heart rate, and narrowing of your blood vessels. Those changes in your body cause you to feel pain.
Additionally, when you experience emotionally difficult times, stress can weaken your body’s immune system and make you more susceptible to colds and other infections.
Constant pain can interfere with your daily life, keeping you from doing things you want and need to do. it can be a natural instinct to eat or drink too much and skip out on regular exercise, it can take a toll on your self-esteem and make you feel angry, frustrated, anxious, and depressed.
The link between depression and pain is why doctors often use antidepressants as one treatment for pain relief. These drugs can help with both the pain and the emotional strain it causes. Pain also interferes with sleep and raises your stress levels. Both a lack of sleep and more stress can make pain feel stronger.
Mike Lawrence says…
“performing a combination of mind-body activities increases the effectiveness of relief from pain.”
Pain Relief Techniques To Take Your Mind Off Pain
The following techniques can help you take your mind off the pain and may help to override established pain signals.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Is a simple yet powerful technique that relaxes the mind, body, and emotions. It is particularly helpful to ease a busy mind if you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or having trouble falling asleep.
With just a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing, you can restore balance and ease in the mind and body. Sometimes when we feel exhausted or find ourselves doing too many things at the same time, it’s because energetically, we are out of alignment. This breath is great for restoring that essential balance.
2. Tai Chi
Is a low-impact, slow-motion, mind-body exercise that combines breath control, meditation, and movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. Some solid research shows that tai chi can benefit people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, tension headache, and other ongoing, painful conditions.
In one trial, for example, 66 people with fibromyalgia were randomized into two groups: one group took tai chi classes twice a week, the other group attended wellness education and stretching sessions twice a week. After 12 weeks, those in the tai chi group reported less pain, fewer depression symptoms, and better sleep than the control group. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Journal of Pain, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Pain Society, found meditation an effective tool in reducing pain and anxiety. Meditation is about being in the present, the now moment and focusing on bringing positive energy to yourself and releasing low vibration, (negative energy) away from yourself.
Some people choose to use meditation only when they’re in pain or feeling stressed. Others, like me, incorporate meditation into their daily routine. I start off every morning with a series of meditations to help me find my energy balance before I walk out the door, during treatments and sessions in my clinic and prior to going to bed.
4. Integrative Therapy
Many people simply put up with the relentless pains that never seem to show up on scans. Most of my clients have been prescribed endless tablets to manage their various discomforts, but like you, they just grin and bear it as the doctors and the medication isn’t really helping. I have been very successful in helping many people just like you.
Aside from its calming and stress-relieving properties, Integrative therapy also provides an intensive cleansing effect by flushing out toxins from the body. The application of deep and gentle pressure on the limbs and trunk helps loosen built up toxins and transports them in appropriate pathways to be neutralised and eliminated from the body.
Allowing the body’s built-in recuperative powers to function efficiently and the body to revitalise the balance itself. In the past, practitioners discovered that the vitality travels throughout the body, head, extremities and organs along meridians via chakras, the body’s energy centres. The vitality is called ‘Yuki’ and is a positive, living dynamic energy.
While many forms of yoga practice are safe, some are energetic and may not be suitable for everybody. In particular, the elderly or those with mobility problems may want to check first with their doctor before choosing yoga as an option.
But for many people dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very attractive way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely associated but are fundamentally equal. The evidence is growing that yoga is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.
Neuroscientific studies demonstrate that our brains physically change when we experience positive or negative emotions. This plays a significant role in how well we manage pain, especially on a daily basis.
We also know that areas of the brain can be influenced by thought. For example, if you are feeling extremely anxious, your pain threshold will decrease.
The mind and body are in constantly communicating, therefore, a perception of pain can change dependent on the way we feel it. This is why shifting our perspectives about our pain is very important—it’s an effective way to control our symptoms, no drugs required.
When we turn negative thoughts into positive ones, we change everything. We stop letting pain control our lives by moving forward and growing stronger. Adopting a more positive outlook on life doesn’t just change the way we think, it changes the way we feel.
One small change can make a powerful difference. It improves our symptoms almost immediately, and when we improve our symptoms, our outlook improves on life improves.
6. Change Your Environment
Pain isn’t just rooted in your body and mind, it’s also a constant factor within your environment and your social environment.
All too often people who are in constant pain withdraw from contact with their family and friends. They feel inhibited by their symptoms or too embarrassed or distracted to reach out to loved ones.
Don’t make the same mistake. Support is a valuable asset and can come in the form of life coaching, integrative therapy and hypnotherapy. Facing challenges is easier when you aren’t alone.
7. Relaxation Techniques For Pain Relief
Relaxation exercises calm your mind, reduce stress hormones in your blood, relax your muscles, and elevate your sense of well-being. Using them regularly can lead to long-term changes in your body to counteract the harmful effects of stress.
“There isn’t a secret formula or one ‘right’ or ‘best’ relaxation technique. You may have to experiment with several to find the one that works for you.” Mike Lawrence says. Choose whatever relaxes you: music, prayer, gardening, going for a walk, talking with a friend on the phone. Here are some other techniques you might try:
- Foursquare breathing. Sometimes referred to as the box breathing technique, breathe deeply, so that your abdomen expands and contracts like a balloon with each breath. Inhale to a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale to a count of four, then hold to a count of four. Repeat for ten rotations.
- Guided imagery. Breathe slowly and deeply. For example, imagine a peaceful environment in which you feel comfortable, enthusiastic, and relaxed. Incorporate colours, sounds, smells, and your feelings. Repeat five to ten minutes daily.
- Self-talk. I often encourage clients to change how their internal dialogue and how they think about their pain. For example, I may ask a client to change “Pain prevents me from some of the activities that I used to do – I don’t care anymore” to “I can achieve anything that I want to when I put my mind to it. I can visualise it already done.”
- I’m a registered holistic hypnotherapist, therefore, I would induce hypnosis with a client and implant suggestions, such as, “You’re going to sleep soundly tonight.” Provide an audio recording of the session so that the client can listen at home.
I would love to help you on this journey.
As always, I hope this helps. Feel free to share this with your family, friends and colleagues.
“The pain of the mind is worse than the pain of the body” – Publilius Syrus