Meditation for Pain

The Stanford SCOPE blog recently had a few articles on chronic pain. Read them here and here.  The post on meditation for chronic pain links back to an LA Times article. One of the most frustrating and challenging conditions for patients and physicians alike is chronic pain. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=meditation&iid=267892″ src=”0264/e6bfd465-fe46-4931-a2e4-387e2364d57e.jpg?adImageId=7703338&imageId=267892″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]I do speak with patients about mindfulness, meditation and yoga (which incorporates the first two) and often refer them to behavioral medicine chronic pain programs which teach these skills. Meditation is not a drug, supplement or procedure, it’s inexpensive and requires only an open mind. Resources for meditation include your public library, where there are often books on tape/CD and now many libraries have electronic downloads. My only advice is that when choosing guided audio meditation you may have to try a few styles. Nothing is worse than an irritating voice leading your meditation! Good luck and I hope to hear your mindfulness tips.

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6 responses to “Meditation for Pain

  1. The problem I’ve run into when I try to meditate is that, when I slow down and focus on the present, I realize how much pain I’m actually in. When I stay busy and focused on other things, I can usually ignore it with some degree of success. Sitting down to meditate just gives me the chance to think, “oh yeah – I feel like garbage.”

    This makes me think I must not be doing it properly.

    • That is why I recommended audio guided meditation. Forces you to listen to someone. There are even walking meditations. Many types are available for free on itunes. Just search “meditation” in the itunes store.

  2. thetruthaboutjra

    I think that when you have someone guiding you into a meditation, it would be more of a guided imagery session. I’ve done some of these before, and they give you images and ideas like, walk down the beach, feel the sand between your toes. True meditation is the absence of thought and the realization of the simplicity and emptiness of the present moment. Then, if you have RA you start to think about all your aches and pains b/c you’re actually paying full attention to what your body is feeling right then. I think guided imagery would be much more appropriate to help us “escape from the pain” Which is probably what you mean…I’m just assuming

    • It’s hard for most of us not used to meditation to have “the absence of thought.” Maybe starting with guided imagery, in someone who has done nothing of this type before, would help him/her move towards meditation. Thanks for your excellent comments!

  3. Ok – thanks! I’ll give that a try.

  4. Love the post about meditation. Check out John Kabat Zinn’s work on this at UMass Memorial!!!

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