Easing pain—mindfully

Author(s): Julie Cullen

By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today

Chronic pain can be all-consuming. I’ve witnessed it first hand with a friend of mine who was in a hotel elevator that crashed six floors. Her life changed after that accident and for years she couldn’t focus on anything but her daily battle with the pain.

I thought of that friend this week when I heard a story about a woman (Pamela Bobb) who has reduced her pain medication 75% since introducing meditation, mindfulness, and a healthier diet into her daily routine. This coincides to some degree with a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that reviewed 60 studies with 6,400 participants that included several complementary medicine interventions, including meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. What the researchers found is that mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and clinical hypnosis offered the best reductions in pain and modest decreases in opioid doses.

Pamela has found a way, with the help of a physician, to change how she responds to her pain. Meditation helps her reduce her stress response, which alters the way her brain perceives the pain. The alternative therapies she’s embraced have empowered her to help herself. My friend experienced similar changes when she introduced regular massage, diet changes, and daily moderate exercise. The pain isn’t gone, but she’s no longer ruled by it.

Source: National Public Radio

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