Mindfulness and Its Impact on Pain
For anyone dealing with chronic pain, each day can be a struggle. Trying to juggle a full-time job, family duties, and other commitments can become fraught with frustration and stress, especially if your loved ones don’t understand your pain. At Midwest Anesthesia and Pain Specialists, we advocate for our patients to try all aspects of holistic and alternative treatments to accompany their medical plan, and acknowledge that mindfulness and the discipline of meditation can transform the way pain is perceived.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as purposeful concentration on the present, which includes your surroundings, physical sensations, and emotional state. A state of being mindful is one in which you gain control of your response to stimuli, like pain, trauma, or life events. Meditation is simply a practice that helps you attain mindfulness.
Mindfulness & Pain: What the Research Says
Complex and different for everyone, the experience of pain is physical, mental, and emotional. Mindfulness is believed to benefit people suffering from chronic pain by training the brain to disconnect the emotional reaction to physical pain.
One study published Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging found that consistent mindfulness practices lead to an increase in the brain’s gray matter, particularly in the region responsible for emotional regulation.
In another study on meditation, researchers found that the practice of meditation has a positive impact on bodily functions. Participants who meditated consistently for 8 weeks were found to have changes in how certain genes were expressed resulting in a reduction in blood pressure.
How Mindfulness and Medicine Work Together
Mindfulness and meditation are not standalone treatments for pain, and every patient’s situation is unique. However, when paired with a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment plan, mindfulness can improve your overall quality of life in the following ways:
- It reduces the perception of pain severity
- It interrupts your emotional reaction to pain
- It establishes a positive mindset
- It develops healthy coping mechanisms
- It encourages regulation of physiological processes
Take Control of Your Pain Today
Don’t let pain control your life. Serving the Chicagoland area, Midwest Anesthesia and Pain Specialists (MAPS) is your leader in comprehensive pain management driven by a focus on the whole person.
We know there are more effective ways to combat chronic pain than medication alone. That’s why we lead the area in minimally invasive treatments for pain that provide real, lasting results. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.