Deep Breathing and Meditation for Pain M

Deep Breathing and Meditation for Pain Management…
15% of American adults have endured chronic pain at some point in their life. If you or someone you know has experienced any sort of lasting pain, you understand that pain is complex. There are many things that can onset the pain cycle and the factors and degree to which the factors contribute to each pain experience varies between individuals. Even as physical injury is present, our environment, daily stressors, emotions, and biological make-up can change what we feel and how we experience pain. There are two parts to the nervous system, the sympathetic “fight or flight” system, which is activated when the body is on high alert, and the parasympathetic “rest and digest”, which is what we tap into when we are more relaxed.
Using methods such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation, among other modalities, activates the relaxation system and has been shown to relieve pain, depression, anxiety, decrease stress levels, and elicit changes in the brain. One study found 40% of its participants reported a decrease in pain intensity after performing daily meditation over a course of 8 weeks. Many things may come to mind when you think of meditation or mindfulness but it is simply being present, breathing, and noticing what is happening around you.
While the definition is simple, it is certainly something that takes practice and consistency but the benefits are worth it. Here’s some good news, you don’t have to sit for an hour to receive the benefits of meditation. Many people have seen positive benefits with just 10-15 minutes of deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation per day and will begin noticing the benefits within 2 weeks.
A few ideas to get you started:
1. Sit or lay comfortably and breathe quietly (you may even create a special place just for this)
2. Focus on a word or phrase that is positive and repeat it slowly to yourself
3. Go for a walk and keep your focus on your breathing
4. Sit or lay and just take in the sounds around you
We live in such a busy world and are always thinking 10 steps ahead; don’t forget to take time to breathe. Ask you physical therapist if incorporating deep breathing or any other mindfulness techniques may be beneficial for you.

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