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How Mindfulness Meditation Can Help with Comprehensive Pain Management

Chronic pain is more common than you may think — about 100 million Americans live with constant pain and spend more than half a trillion dollars every year desperately seeking relief. This widespread problem led many of these sufferers and their doctors to turn to opioids for a powerful solution to untreatable pain, but that quickly resulted in an addiction epidemic that became a crisis within a crisis.  

Dr. Jay M. Shah at SamWell Institute for Pain Management has devoted his career to helping people overcome pain safely with excellent long-term outcomes. and for good. With offices in Woodbridge Colonia and Livingston, New Jersey, he uses leading cutting-edge technology and the most advanced techniques to restore his patients’ health and enable them to live pain-free lives. 

As a leader in the field of pain management, he understands the value of a comprehensive approach to health care, and incorporates multiple methods into his treatment plans. One of the most effective modalities offers benefits to all his patients, especially those suffering from intense chronic pain — mindfulness meditation. Here’s a look at how this technique plays a key role in pain management.

Mindfulness meditation for pain

Although mindfulness is a fairly loose term that means different things to different people, it’s simply an acute sense of awareness of one’s self that stems from focusing on the present. Practicing mindfulness takes on various forms, including breathing exercises, visualization, and body scanning. 

Using your breath to ease your pain

Controlling the way you breathe can relax your brain and ease your pain. A typical mindful breathing exercise involves sitting comfortably, focusing on the flow of your breath, carefully noticing the path of air as it enters and leaves, letting your mind wander and redirecting it back to your breath patterns, sitting in silence, and appreciating your sense of wellbeing. As anxiety and stress diminish, pain follows suit.

Visualizing pain relief

If someone has ever told you that your pain is all in your head, we understand your frustration. Pain isn’t visible, and it’s hard for others to accept. That said, the thoughts in your head can exacerbate your pain, which is why Dr. Shah recommends mindfulness meditation, including visualization.

Visualization meditation enables you to envision a positive outcome or feeling. This works for people with stage fright and performance anxiety as well as for those in chronic pain. Focusing your thoughts on positive feelings and imagining life without pain relaxes your brain and reduces the anxiety that can often make pain worse.

Whole body relaxation 

A technique called body scanning helps you reduce pain by relaxing your body intentionally, paying attention to your body parts and their relationship to each other and to the environment, noticing every sensation from head to toe slowly and methodically, and sensing your heart beat. 

You can find examples of body scanning exercises online, or you can download an app that walks you through the brief process. Many patients find that taking inventory of each part reconnects them with their body and gives them a greater sense of relaxation and control — and less pain.

Does mindfulness meditation work?

Using mindfulness meditation to quell pain isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s been a mainstay of Buddhist monks for centuries. But modern research also supports the ancient practice and shows that mindfulness meditation improves many pain-related disorders, including:

While mindfulness meditation is a proven support for chronic pain sufferers, it should never be the only method you rely on. Dr. Shah complements your mindfulness approach with effective traditional medical treatments.

Pairing mindfulness meditation with traditional medicine

Your pain isn’t all in your head, so your treatment shouldn’t be either. Dr. Shah offers a full spectrum of pain management treatments from ultra conservative to extremely advanced. 

Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to abate chronic pain. PT uses noninvasive techniques to enable your body to tap into its own resources. By strengthening supporting muscles and stimulating blood flow, physical therapy helps you help yourself.

When inflammation won’t subside on its own, Dr. Shah may recommend nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, or spinal cord stimulation, or other image-guided procedures to help accurately eliminate your pain.  to bypass the pain signals sent to your brain. 

A consultation with Dr. Shah can set your mind at ease and your body at rest. To find out how mindfulness meditation coupled with cutting-edge medical treatment can help you finally enjoy pain-free days, schedule an appointment today by calling our friendly staff, or book a visit online

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