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Approximately 20 percent of US adults live with chronic pain. That’s over 49 million Americans.
You would think that with so many people suffering, the medical community would have a good answer and a way to reliably treat it. But, nothing is further from the truth.
The fact is that chronic pain is still a conundrum for doctors, and some of the medications in their bag of tricks not only become less effective the longer you take them, but can also lead to addiction, overdose and even death.
Luckily, you don’t have to turn to those prescriptions, including opioids for help. According to a new study, there’s something you can do in your own home that works and has no side effects other than less pain and stress…
As effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
You may have heard of the term cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.
If not, what you need to know is that CBT is a psychological technique for treating pain. Basically, it teaches you to change the thoughts and behaviors around your pain so that your perception of the pain changes and you feel better.
And, CBT has been shown to be extremely effective for relieving chronic pain.
The problem is that not everyone who lives with long-term pain can access CBT — either they don’t have the time, the money, or insurance to cover it. And, of course, despite how effective it is, there are people it doesn’t work for.
This led researchers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to see if mindfulness-based stress reduction or (MBSR) — a type of meditation focusing on moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the immediate environment — could offer the same type of relief to give chronic pain patients more options.
They pooled the results of 21 clinical trial involving almost 2,000 people — some of whom had lived with their pain for a decade.
And, they found that just like CBT, mindfulness lessened the severity of pain, improved daily life and physical function, lowered stress and lessened depression. In fact, the researchers said the two were equally effective.
The researchers did note, however, that it’s too early to tell which technique might be better for people with different types of pain.
Practicing pain relief at home
For my money though, there’s no reason not to try something that could provide needed relief without any side effects to worry about and Vipassana meditation or “mindfulness meditation,” developed by Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist monks, is a great way to start.
You can learn the basics here.
And, you can practice mindfulness anywhere.
Dr. Sood of the Mayo Clinic, who studied the benefits of mindfulness in menopausal women, gives this advice, “The goal during mindful moments is not to empty the mind, but to become an observer of the mind’s activity while being kind to oneself. The second step is to create a pause. Take a deep breath, and observe one’s own space, thoughts and emotions nonjudgmentally. The resulting calm helps lower stress.”
So, take a pause for a deep breath and press pause on your pain too with mindfulness.
Editor’s note: If you suffer from chronic pain and conventional medicine keeps letting you down, you must read Conquering the Pain: An Alternative Doctor’s Fresh Look at the Newest and Oldest in Alternative Pain Therapies. Click here to get your copy today!
- Defining the Prevalence of Chronic Pain in the United States — National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
- How Many Adults Live in the USA? — Reference.com
- Mindfulness promising option for easing chronic pain — EurekAlert!
- Mindfulness won’t take away hot flashes, but it could reduce this killer — Easy Health Options®