[su_dropcap style=”default” size=”3″ class=””]A[/su_dropcap]re you tired of taking pain medication to get rid of that pesky lower back pain? Have you tried almost everything to make the pain go away? Well, it’s time to kiss chronic low back pain good-bye and say hello to mindfulness.
Researchers at Group Health Research Institute recently conducted a study to explore alternatives to pain medication in treating low back pain. They found that practicing mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy could actually train the brain to respond differently to pain signals. The research suggests that this method of meditation could be a more effective pain-reliever than traditional physical therapy and medication.
According to NPR, 8 percent of Americans suffer from chronic back pain and it is a major cause of disability. Unfortunately, many doctors stress that there is no medical cure for this pain. Dr. Daniel Cherkin, a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute, says that the lack of effective medical treatments makes patients feel alone or that their pain is not being validated.
This is where mindfulness-based meditation comes in. Mindfulness meditation is a systematic method of focusing your attention. When one is mindful, he or she is attentive to the present moment and accepts all difficult and pleasant thoughts without judgment. Practicing mindfulness meditation is not about making the mind go blank, but rather bringing awareness to one’s own thoughts.
Lifestyle medicine expert, Jane Ehrman, MEd, says that those who meditate experience a drop in muscle tension and heart rate, as well as slower respiration, which all impacts pain. Meditation helps to ease chronic back pain by shifting one’s focus away from the pain and to something quiet and calm.
There are numerous techniques to practice mindfulness meditation and it takes time and practice to train your brain to be mindful. In the end, however, your body and your mind will thank you.