To compliment the medical procedures of our mutidisciplinary pain management program, Dr. Kevin Rod, our medical director, advocates mental wellness for the treatment of pain. Pain is an intangible health condition and is manifested in numerous ways. Mental health is arguably the most important component to ones overall well-being.
Mindfulness teaches patients how to use practical meditation skills they can apply to everyday life thus achieving an overall relaxed state of being. Mindfulness is rapidly supported by evidenced base medicine. It is about coming back to the present moment with intention and full attention, here and now. It helps overcome feelings of past regrets and future worries.
A life with chronic pain is anything but easy. There is however, a technique that is often overlooked because of the utter simplicity of it. It is not a miracle cure. It is not an invasive procedure. It is not a pill. It is mindfulness.
Mindfulness allows us to look at the pain, not as something to fear, but as something to explore and understand. It is learning rather than suffering. We often tend to judge our pain by its severity or intensity. This causes our minds to quickly race through the various ways we can remedy the pain, leading to frustration and negative thoughts.
Below you will find some mindfulness exercises for beginners. Do not be discouraged if your focus is scattered at first. You will get better in time.
Mindful Breathing: The most basic form of mindfulness is focused breathing. Placing all your attention on your breath and pulling your attention away from your pain. This is easiest when the room is quiet and still. Relax your body. With your eyes closed, envision your breath flooding your lungs as you inhale. Exhale and release your breath back out into the world. Feel the rise and the fall of your abdomen. Do this naturally, without exaggeration or hesitation. Repeat as necessary.
Body Scan: Find a comfortable place like a chair or bed. Relax. Drop your shoulders and relax your hands. Relax your neck and allow the weight of your body to fall. With your eyes closed, breathe naturally. Bring your focus to where your body meets the ground, bed or chair and allow yourself to sink a little deeper into it. Start at your feet and scan each part of your body one at a time for any sensations. Do not judge the sensations. Just become aware of the sensation, and move on to the next body part, scanning and understanding without judgement. Scan each small section of your body. Finally, scan your head. Maintain your breathing.
Meditation with guided imagery: Focus only on your breathing while in a quiet place. Then listen to calming music or focus on a peaceful scene. When your mind begins to wander say “refresh”, and refocus yourself on the sounds, views and your breathing.
Dr. Kevin Rod has been actively promoting and encouraging meditation for many years. He was inspired to write about the many aspects of pain and it sources, also on how to manage pain on a daily basis. He has written extensively on how the mind can be your most powerful tool in overcoming daily obstacles thus helping you to be proactive in your attitude to tackle your pain mentally and spiritually.
Dr. Rod’s insight into the various methods and management of chronic pain is personal because he is a pain patient himself. This condition propelled him to create a space called MyPain.ca to illustrate various ways to recognize, manage and overcome this silent condition called: PAIN
The resources of MyPain.ca is a personal guide of collective articles all which teaches you to be mindful of your condition. These mindful teachings should be a reflection of your health condition and help reinforce your resolve to overcome pain rather than submit and resign to live your full life.