Seeing a Chiropractor: Finding Ways to Keep Your Pain Away

Adding Meditation To Your Chronic Lower Back Pain Management Plan

by Carlos Butler

The doctors in your pain treatment center have a variety of options to include in your treatment plan. Medication management, physical therapy, and chiropractic spinal manipulation work together to reduce your annoying lower back pain. Some people have discovered meditation as a way to limit their reliance on pain medication and prevent flare ups of back pain. Wake Forest University sponsored a study and found that some people needed 40 percent less medication once they adopted meditation in their pain management. Here is how meditation can be an effective part of your treatment plan.

Meditation and Chronic Pain

It's often difficult to find the cause of chronic pain, so the focus of treatment is on the symptoms. Back pain is treated by keeping muscles relaxed and reducing inflammation. Alternative techniques, such as meditation, work with the psychology of chronic pain. The goal is to find ways of using the mind to change your perception of the pain.

Mindfulness Meditation

This is a specific meditation technique to manage your awareness of pain. It teaches you to see pain as separate from you and your body. Some people find that this detachment from the pain allows them to experience periods of relief from it. When you've mastered this technique, you can use it throughout the day to get a break from the pain.

To become proficient with mindfulness meditation, you need to work closely with a teacher. They will help you develop a meditation practice unique to you and your specific condition. Part of the process is learning how to manage your fear and anticipation of the pain. An experienced meditation teacher or coach will help you with that.

To give you a slight taste of mindfulness meditation, try the following exercise at home.

Controlling Your Reaction to Temperature

  1. Find a quiet place to sit and practice this technique.
  2. Fill a bowl with ice cubes and place the bowl within reach of your chair.
  3. Sit, relax your body, and begin breathing slowly and deeply in and out.
  4. Try to focus your attention on your breath. Imagine seeing your breath going in and out of your body.
  5. Now notice all of the random thoughts going through your mind.
  6. Grab one thought and look at it. Notice how the thought is separate from you. Let it go and grab another.
  7. Continue this for a few minutes and develop the sense that you can separate yourself from these thoughts.
  8. Now put your hand into the bowl of ice and focus your attention on how your body reacts to the temperature.
  9. Just like with your thoughts, see the reaction as a separate and distinct thing.
  10. Notice the temperature and any discomfort. Notice if your hand wants to pull away or if it finds the experience pleasant.
  11. Now put your attention back on your breath. Feel yourself becoming detached from the bowl of ice as you switch your attention.
  12. After a few minutes of focusing on your breath, switch it back to the ice. Notice any changes in your perception of how it feels.
  13. When doing this, people will discover that the ice feels less cold and uncomfortable.

Try this exercise with other situations, such as a warm object, a loud radio or a disagreeable odor. This and other mindfulness meditation exercises teach you how to detach from your chronic pain and create different perceptions of it. Talk with your doctor about how to add meditation to your pain management plan.