When managing chronic pain, patients are bound to run into the word “mindfulness” advertised as an alternative pain treatment. In fact, research has found that not only can this practice help with pain management, but may also improve other symptoms that frequently accompany chronic pain conditions, like anxiety and depression. For some, this practice has been an integral part of their pain treatment, but for others, it’s the same as imagining a scenic view to curb labor pain – it doesn’t always work.
The Pain Center of Arizona physicians have heard both ends of the spectrum and are here to offer these five tips to those wanting to get into the practice. The Pain Center goal is a multifaceted pain management approach, treating not just the symptoms, but the whole body. To patients, this may mean practicing mindfulness in addition to treatments prescribed by a pain management doctor. Mindfulness is more than just something you can try once. Much like a series of steroid injections or pain medication, it may take a few weeks of use in order to take full effect.
1. Practice yoga
Taking yoga classes are a great start to mindfulness because an instructor walks students through stretching exercises your body will love, as well as breathing exercises to help improve mood. Yoga is great for making mindfulness a habit because classes are usually taught on a regular schedule and keep you coming back.
2. Live in the moment
Chronic pain management is a roller coaster. There are good days and days that are a lot worse than others. During the bad times, all of life’s stresses may start to pile up. Mindfulness is about letting all of that go and living in the moment. Avoid worrying about the future and be present.
3. Be mindful of your body
Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness isn’t just in your head, per se. By practicing mindful eating, you are only giving your body healthy foods. It shows that you are caring for yourself and are more in-tune with your body. Filling the body with good, healthy food helps patients lose excess weight, be aware of food triggers, and more importantly, find satisfaction with day-to-day tasks.
4. Let thoughts be thoughts
Negative thoughts get the best of us from time to time, especially when living with a chronic condition. Mindfulness is about realizing that you don’t need to believe negative thoughts, let alone act on them. When thoughts begin to take the better of you, practice a breathing exercise to clear your head and live in the moment.
5. Understand that you are in a community
At The Pain Center of Arizona, we foster a community of patients who are all going through very similar situations. Actively practice mindfulness to those who surround you because every moment and interaction counts. Chronic pain patients may have very different lives, but the goal to treat their pain is shared by all. Some patients are at different stages in their journey, so fostering a community of support is vital.
The Pain Center of Arizona can help patients with mindfulness by offering pain therapies that can make focusing on the moment easier. Our Wellness Program helps us refer patients to group therapy sessions, physical therapy, acupuncture, and more! Pain management is a multi-step program, and mindfulness can be a great complement to your current treatment plan. Give it a try and tell us what you think!
If you suffer from chronic pain due to any condition or injury, find hope at The Pain Center of Arizona! Our dedicated team of board certified pain management physicians will work with you to treat your pain, increase your functionality and quality of life, and get you back into life! We have locations across Arizona, including the Phoenix metropolitan, Northern and Southern areas! We take multiple insurance plans; click here to see if we take yours! To make an appointment and take the first step toward getting back into life, call us today at 1-888-PAINCENTER. We hope to see you soon!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.