Pain management – how to deal with pain

The Road To Mental Wellness > Mental Health > Pain management – how to deal with pain

Pain management – how to deal with pain -Anne, Counsellor, and Psychotherapist, is back with an enlightening article on How to deal with physical pain.

Anne Higgins

Anne is a Counsellor and psychotherapist based outside Abbeyfeale County Limerick (Republic of Ireland. She has her own practice – Feale Counselling Service.

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Brief Overview

We need the sensation of pain to let us know when our bodies need extra care. It’s an important signal. When we sense pain, we pay attention to our bodies and can take steps to fix what hurts to aid our overall well-being. Pain also may prevent us from injuring a body part even more.

People feel pain when specific nerves called nociceptors detect tissue damage and transmit information about the damage along the spinal cord to the brain. For example, touching a hot surface will send a message through a reflex arc in the spinal cord and cause an immediate contraction of the muscles.

Acute pain and chronic pain

It is said that people experiencing acute pain will have an elevated heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate; they may shake or shiver, have goose bumps and pale skin. The more intense the pain, the more visible these signs and symptoms are.  Acute pain is a sudden sharp type of pain that lasts less than six months. It’s a warning sign to the body that says unsafe, and its health has been compromised in some way- its mind and temporary but complex.

Chronic pain on the other hand is an ongoing pain that lasts longer than six months. It can be hard to be diagnosed and can be misdiagnosed and generally caused by underlying issues.

There are so many daily mindfulness practices which do include meditation. This can be helpful for people living with chronic pain because sometimes there are negative or worrisome thoughts about the pain. These thoughts are normal, and can affect mood and increase pain

Mindfulness exercises help people to focus their mind and body in the moment without judgment.

Mindfulness soothes the brain patterns underlying pain and, over a period of time, these changes take root and alter the structure of the brain itself, so that we can no longer feel pain with the same intensity. Many say that they barely notice it at all.

Read More from Anne: How do thoughts affect the body physically?

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

Your mind is very powerful, and it reacts to everything you come into contact with, be it good or bad. I know it is hard to let go of the past, but you must tell yourself that you made the best decision at the time with the information and knowledge you knew at that time.

Releasing your attachment to pain can be life changing. The moment you decide to take control over your pain is the moment you begin to heal.

Be committed to the process with the following simple statement

” I am committed to healing my mind and body. I am in control.”

I can do this. Every day in every way I am getting better and better. I deserve to feel good and so I shall”

Meditation is something everyone can do and here is how. If this is new for you just be kind to yourself as it may seem strange initially but with practice and time you will figure a way that suits you as an individual- remember we are all unique and what I may like might not suit you!

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  • Take a seat or lie down – find a place where you find calm and quiet
  • Set a time limit. I would recommend 10 mins starting out if this is new for you. It’s whatever you are comfortable with in any given sitting. It might be less or more. Over time you can increase when you get more confident and comfortable
  • Notice Your body (any sensations tightness) -Do a body scan
  • Feel your breath and slow your heart rate down – inhale through your nose and exhale through an imaginary straw out your mouth.  I prefer the inhale for 4 hold for 4 – exhale for 4 and hold for 4. (Box breathing) and repeat. Everyone is unique when it comes to this, breathing out on a longer exhale is also suggested. Whatever works for you! That’s what matters!
  • Notice where your mind wanders   and return to the present with focusing on your breathing
  • Be kind to your wandering mind
  • Return to your regular breath when you feel the need to but sit with yourself and just focus on your breathing rising and falling lifting your chest and abdomen and just be in the moment.
Take notice of how you feel afterwards. You will be surprised with the results even on your first meditation.

That’s it!  you have just done meditation. Just to note there are many options available on YouTube to get started. Just Google guided meditation for beginners and it’s a great starting point for you and in time you definitely will see the benefits for both your mind and body.

Some benefits of meditation below are:

Meditation works psychologically, spiritually, and physically. It’s an ultimate form of healing and I feel one of the best pain medicines you can take

It slows down the brain wave frequency. It can help improve your mood and behavior

Release of Serotonin

Lower levels of Serotonin are linked with depression and headaches, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Also, lower levels of Serotonin can contribute to obesity which can lead to a more serious ailment

Meditation can be a powerful as prescription drugs like Prozac or Zoloft

No cost or no damaging side effects

20 mins a day can improve your health and fight the aging process and also pain and disease

regular meditation is like a mini holiday for your mind and is a huge stress reliever and lowers your blood pressure

offers an escape from your reality

Your brain releases chemical endorphins when you practice mindfulness or meditation, and this helps one to feel better manage and reduce chronic pain.

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Being present in the moment is empowering – it means focusing your awareness on the present moment (the here and now), understanding that we are to experience each moment right now as we are never sure of what tomorrow may bring.

There are many more benefits with meditation, some briefly mentioned above but it is important to note that deep levels of meditation are not required to help with your healing. Light levels of meditation or trance-like state is just as effective in making positive changes to your life in order to release tension and stress.

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STOP DEPRESSON SUMMIT - When you should check in on a friend with mental illness.

Jonathan speaking at the 

Jonathan Speaking at the Stop Depression Summit

 On February 23, 2023

His talk was on the ways in which you can take back your life when you have trauma and major depressive disorder

Now, you can watch Jonathan Speak at the Stop Depression Summit – FREE!

I was honored to be part of such a wonderfully resource rich summit with some of the foremost experts in the field.

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