Distraction Techniques for Pain

Distraction Techniques for Pain
Claudio_Scott/Pixabay

Introduction

Why would you need distraction techniques for pain?  What does that mean?  Do these techniques work?

I imagine you are reading this article because you are in pain.  You have my empathy.  I too have chronic pain.  Which is the main motivation for creating this website.  Each day I search for ways to manage my pain.  

So if you are in pain and searching for relief, read on.  Perhaps you will find some help here.  I certainly hope so.  

Distraction Techniques for Pain
Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

What Is Distraction Technique?

Distraction itself is defined as diverting the attention from one focus to another.  Probably what comes to mind is distracted driving, which is dangerous and irresponsible.  Your mind is focused where it shouldn’t be focused in that case.

A distraction technique, when used to relieve pain, is an activity that you work at to redirect your mind off the pain.  

When you are in pain, the brain usually focuses on the pain.  (Now, pain in itself is really a good thing because it warns us something is wrong.  But chronic pain brings you down and impacts your life, sometimes forever.)

I’ve struggled with this condition for six years now.  I have good days and bad days.  I bet you can relate.

Using distraction techniques for pain trains the mind to focus on something other than the pain.  The result?  The pain doesn’t have the same focus and therefore influences us less.  The practice can lessen the pain sensation or even stop it for a time.

Some Techniques

Practicing these techniques should help you feel better, at least for a little bit.  Try different ones that sound good to you.  If one doesn’t work, try another.

  • Relaxation breathing or deep breathing.se techniques should help you feel better, at least for a little bit.  Try different ones that sound good to you.  If one doesn’t work, try another.  This technique is also helpful in lowering your heart rate and your anxiety.  There are many apps available to learn this technique.  I have also written an article about mindfulness which might be helpful here.  What Is Mindfulness Meditation and Can It Help Manage My Pain?

 

  • Reading in any format, including audio books.

    Distraction Techniques for Pain
    PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

 

  • Listening to music.  Certain music can even lift our spirits.  Or take us back to our younger days, with memories filling our thoughts.  These serve to cut off the suffering.

 

  • Working on a home project.  Find something that you enjoy doing.  My pain limits what I can do, but I can do something.  I’m just slower at it.  Which is okay.
  • Crafting.  I’m not much into this; used to be when I was younger.  I enjoyed cross-stitching.  Do people still do that?  Think of an easy craft you would enjoy.  The pleasure of creating along with the distraction should provide you with relief.

 

Distraction Techniques for Pain
Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay

 

  • Counting backwards or saying the alphabet backwards.  This is a quick activity that can give a few minutes of relief. I’m using it while I walk, which is usually a painful experience. 

 

  • Playing games or doing puzzles.  I have had reports from loved ones that doing puzzles during isolation helped them keep their sanity.  

 

  • Watching a movie or TV.  While I don’t recommend sitting in front of the tv for hours, I know it is helpful to relax while watching a favorite movie or tv show.  I especially recommend comedy.  There is some science that shows that laughter releases endorphins that are “feel good” hormones.  These are natural pain relievers!

 

Here is a user friendly website that I found that was very helpful.  It is presented by the Pain Management Network.  I used some of their resources for my list.

In my research I found another website developed by a woman who is a chronic pain sufferer.  Her website is beautiful and she has an article about distractions too.  It’s called 20 Ways to Distract Yourself From Pain.  

Creating this website and my other site (helpfulresourcesforseniors.com) has been a wonderful distraction for me.  I am learning about website building, about pain management, and resources for seniors.  These mind involvement activities make me completely forget my pain.

Who Can Use Them?

ANYONE!

I don’t usually make such a broad inclusive statement, but these techniques are easy to do and have no side effects.  

These techniques are also good for other negative thoughts and feelings.  They can help with anxiety and depression for example.  

The only caveat is you have to practice them.  Some may take a little more concentration than others, but in this case that is a good thing.  The more you engage your brain, the better. 

Here’s a video that takes distraction to another level!  Perhaps this technique will be commonplace in the future!

Do These Techniques Work?

From my experience, I would say yes.  I find I can use distraction when I am working on my website and I hardly realize I have pain.  I am still learning how to do this technique when I am walking, as the pain seems to be worse when I am active.

I like to find science that backs up my claims.  So here are some articles you can investigate if you want supporting data for this practice.  

In a post from the National Institutes of Health, I found a study that had been done to distract people from getting a IV needle inserted in their vein.  The conclusion was that the patients reported very little pain when practicing distraction.  Read the article here.  

In an article written in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, the conclusion is that “distraction is a promising intervention for the management of procedural pain in pediatric oncology patients, although available evidence is limited.”  So there is a study that shows positive results.  Click here to see the full article.  

Distraction Techniques for Pain
geralt/Pixabay

The American Society of Anesthesiologists even wrote about this concept.  They correlated their study with people who are defined as highly catastrophizing about their pain.  Apparently the higher you perceive your pain to be, the more this method works.  See their article here.  

So there is science behind this.  I feel more information needs to be publicized.  If this is a method that is helpful to those of us in pain, and it has no side effects, then why don’t we know more?  That question requires further investigation too.  

Final Thoughts

I wrote an article that has a different approach, with more techniques to try out.  It’s called Relaxation Techniques for Pain.  Maybe one of those practices might help you.  

This article doesn’t begin to cover all the information available.  I think I need to write a follow up article.  If you have information you want researched, or questions about this topic, please leave a comment.  

Also, in case you are wondering how to build a website, as I am doing here, then you can check out the platform I use called Wealthy Affiliate.  I have learned so much as I work toward a professional looking website.  

Comments Please!

Please leave a comment now that you have read this article.  I especially desire feedback on if these ideas helped you or if you have practiced this technique, and what your results were.  And if you want to know more about another topic on pain management, let me know.  I am always researching new ideas.

Disclaimer

I’m not a medical professional, merely a fellow pain sufferer.  Although the techniques in this post shouldn’t have any negative effects, I hope you have checked with your healthcare provider to make sure you are doing all you can do to manage your pain, and to get the care you need.  

Also, I sometimes use articles to feature a product that I recommend.  If I link to the product, I would receive a small commission if it is purchased.  I do not have any such affiliate links in this post.

Relaxation Techniques for Pain

Relaxation Techniques for Pain
geralt/Pixabay

Relaxation Techniques for Pain

These last few weeks have been more painful than most.  My pain wants to take control of my life.  Instead of letting that happen, I decided to continue my fight to conquer it.  I decided that researching some relaxation techniques for pain might be helpful.  

From that I decided to see what I could find that might help me feel better.  I hope it might help you feel better.  

The following list is not all inclusive.  I am sure there are more techniques.  But why not give one of them a try?  Can’t hurt you, because no medication is involved.  But they will take time and discipline. 

Deep Breathing

What is deep breathing?  There are many ways to practice this.  The practice is in the name.  You breathe deeply.  

When you do this, the process sends more oxygen into the blood and into the brain.  This releases endorphins into your bloodstream.  These are “feel good” hormones which help relax you and reduce your stress. 

There appear to be several forms of deep breathing.  If you want to get started right now, try this simple form.

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position.  Put one hand on your belly (just below your ribs) and the other on your chest.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, causing your belly to push out.  Your chest should not move. 
  • Breathe out through your mouth, using your belly to push all the air out.
  • Do this up to 10 times.  Notice how you feel afterwards.

You should be calmer and less anxious.  By pushing those endorphins through your system you should feel less pain too.

Divert Your Attention

Also called distraction, this involves forcing your brain to focus on something other than your pain.  I guess you could say I am doing this right now by researching and writing this article.  As I study new ideas, my mind can only focus on the work, and not the pain.

I found a great article on how to get started with practicing distraction.  Click here to see the article.  They suggest up to 20 activities to distract you.  Very helpful.  And the video of the children speaking about distraction is so sweet.  

That link gave me some encouragement too.   Playing a game on an app (which I do), will make you feel better.  I’m not going to berate myself when I do that.  I didn’t realize I was managing my pain this way.  

Walk

First of all, I find this particular activity a real challenge, because it hurts me to walk.  But I don’t feel I have much choice.  I am in pain one way or another.  

The same endorphins are released when you exercise, as when you do deep breathing.  This makes you feel calmer and relaxed and may also work at minimizing the pain.  

If you can get your heart rate increased, all the better.  I have read that brisk walking is just as good as running for your heart.  And there are other benefits, like lower blood pressure, and better sleep. 

Relaxation Techniques for Pain
PhotoGranary/Pixabay

Sing

I wasn’t able to find much research to back up these claims, but some articles claim that singing can make you feel better for probably two reasons.  The first is that you are focusing on an activity, and therefore distracting the brain from the pain.

The second reason is that like walking or deep breathing, you are releasing more feel good hormones into your bloodstream.  Think about it; you have to do some deep breathing to sing in the first place.  And then combining that with the distraction, you have a one two punch to the pain.

I can testify that when I sang in church choirs, I always felt better afterwards.  I didn’t realize until now that the reason was all those endorphins swimming in my system.  Find some music you can sing along with and belt out a few songs!  

I’ve been singing to some Barbershop tunes while I write.  I love the harmony.  Listening to uplifting music is also just that; uplifting.  Here’s an example of one I really enjoy.  

Massage

I am a person that loves to go for a massage.  But it is something I can’t always afford.  I have had positive and negative experiences from massage; but mostly positive, thankfully.   

There doesn’t seem to be research supporting the positive effects of massage as far as pain management is concerned.  But there is proof that the massage of our muscles does relax the muscle and surrounding tissue.

I am also a firm believer in the power of touch.  Just being touched (in a healthy way!) by another caring human can lift our endorphins.  

Just a caution.  The one negative experience I had made my pain worse.  I have a feeling the therapist didn’t know much about pain.  But other therapists had profound positive effects.  I recommend checking how much your therapist knows about pain massage before they treat you.  

Get Out

Getting out has been a challenge during our quarantine period, hasn’t it?  But just a change of scenery can help lift your spirits and take your mind off your pain.  Again, some redirecting the mind.  

If possible take a friend with you, or have a friend take you.  Talking and listening are both activities that engage the brain and help to make the pain take a back seat.  

I have a classic Chevy truck that I try to take out every Saturday afternoon for an hour.  The feeling of the wind blowing through the cab as I motor down the road is such a spirit lifter.  I hope you can find a similar experience to raise your outlook. 

Stretches

I do stretches almost everyday.  I do set a goal to do them everyday, but sometimes the day gets away from me.  But these stretches make a huge difference in my pain level.  I like to think of stretches as a self massage.  Pulling out the muscles does release tension.

Relaxation Techniques for Pain
12019/Pixabay

Stretching also keeps your body young.  Since starting these stretches over two years ago, I am more flexible than I’ve ever been, and I’m 69!  Some of my friends who are younger tell me they can’t stretch like I can.  (I know, I’m boasting.  Forgive me.)  

I recommend finding a program that you can stick to.  Here are two DVDs that I recommend, and that I have reviewed.  See the reviews here: Jane Adams Gentle Yoga and Emily Lark’s Back to Life. I use parts of these two programs plus some others.  

Conclusion

May I recommend that you choose one of these suggestions and give it a try?  I would ask that you get back to me on your results.  

I am also open to suggestions of other techniques that you have found helpful.  I’m in this to search for help for myself and others.  

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional.  Any new activity you start should be approved by your physician.  I recommend these practices because they have worked for me.

Sometimes I include product recommendations in my articles.  If I do so, I receive a small fee if you purchase it.  I do not have any product recommendations in this post.

On the other hand, I do recommend the platform that I have been using to build my websites.  If you are interested in finding out more about that, click here.  If you decide to join, I do receive a referral fee.  Thank you.

Do You Have Back Pain From Sitting Too Long?

Back Pain from Sitting Too Long
Back Pain from Sitting Too Long
mohamed_hassan

Intro

Now that many of us are working from home because of COVID19, the incidents of people reporting back pain seems to have risen.  Others complain of pain in their hands, or neck or shoulders.  Do you have back pain from sitting too long?

Why is that?  Are we working longer?  Are we under more stress?  Are you, like me, working from a laptop at a kitchen table?  Or sometimes sitting on your bed with your laptop?  

I am sure most of us can not buy ergonomic furniture to improve our situation and therefore our posture.  But we can practice some other activities that will help relieve some of the discomfort.  

Some Recommendations for Relieving Back Pain

Stop Working!  

“What?”, you may say.  But this is the first step to addressing the pain.  Get up and take a short break.  After all, you do that at work anyway, right?  Walk around for a few minutes.  Go outside and walk around the house.  I’m not talking about a long break.  Just a few minutes to clear your head, get some fresh air and rest your eyes.  

I now practice setting an alarm for ½ hour.  I work hard for that time frame, then my alarm sounds and I get up and move.  Adjust the times to your preference, but in any event MOVE!  Trust me, you will work better and feel better.  

A side benefit is tracking my work output.  I now know how much time I am spending on a project and can plan better.

Walk

You knew I was going to say that, right?  Our bodies were made to move, not sit.  Most of us are sitting way too long.  (I was a letter carrier for a few years.  Kept in great shape!  Letter carriers have one of the longest life spans.  Tells you something, doesn’t it?)

Ideally we should walk in the morning, in the evening and any other time that we can fit in.  It seems counter-intuitive when you are in pain to move, but movement is actually like applying a pain ointment.  

Not only will it help you decrease your pain but there are so many other benefits.  It is good for your heart, strengthens your bones, reduces fat and increases muscle.  I have been inspired in my neighborhood to see people walking even though they are obviously in pain.  They are my heros! (Because I live with chronic pain and I know how hard it is to move when you hurt.)

There are more benefits if you have stairs.  My friend recommended I take the stairs to my 3rd floor apartment.  She said it might help my butt pain.  Although it hasn’t addressed that pain yet, I know my heart is in better shape after just a few weeks.  I’m not sucking air like I did before.  

Posture

Sit up straight!  If necessary use a rolled up towel against your lower back to force you to do so.  Adjust the keyboard so you don’t have to bend over to reach it.

Sitting Too Long Causes Back Pain
mohamed_hassan

Your neck should be held at an upright position.  Raise the screen to eye level so you aren’t bending all day.  

Have your arms at right angles to your body.  Rest your hands lightly on the desk so your fingers can move freely on the keyboard. 

Plant your feet firmly on the floor.  This helps you sit up straight.  

You can maintain this position for that ½ hour I am recommending, right?  Trust me, you will see payoffs immediately.

Stretches

I have recommended two DVDs that I use for daily stretching.  See these two articles if you want to investigate further.  Emily Lark’s Back to Life.  Jane Adams Gentle Yoga.  They are both based on yoga principles, which have been promoted to help with balance, flexibility, and pain relief.  

There are hundreds of options out there.  You could do a Google search to find lots of free options.  

If you don’t want to search right now, but just want some relief, here’s what I recommend.  (They take only a few minutes.)

  • Sit on the floor, stretch legs as far apart as is comfortably possible.  With straight back, lean from the hips forward, stretching your hands out in front of you.  Do not over stretch or cause yourself pain. Hold this position for 30 seconds.  Breathe slowly with your face loose.
  • Lie on your back with legs straight out.  Leaving one leg straight, bring the other leg up to your chest by bending it and pulling it with your hands/arms.  Do at least 5 times on each leg.
  • Sit straight in an upright hard chair, about half way back.  Cross one leg over the other, so that it is parallel to the floor.  Bend the foot so it is tense.  Push on that knee with the same side hand, so that you are pushing it toward the floor.  Hold for 15 seconds.  If you don’t feel the stretch, lean forward a little till you do.  

I found this video of stretches that you can do at home.  Just a minute long!  Hope it helps you feel better!

Neck Stretches

Because our necks take lots of tension as we work at our computers it is vital that we focus on stretching it during the day.  One thing I learned in neck stretching is to never push your head with your hand.  Let the weight of your head stretch your neck.  

Here are a two suggestions:

  • Slowly turn your head to the right and the left as far as is comfortable.  Turn to each side five times.
  • Lean your head to each shoulder, slowly, as far as is comfortable.  Do this five times each side.

Hand stretches

Do your fingers ache from working at the computer?  Or your wrists?  One action I have been doing is to use my other hand.  It’s kind of clunky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.  It really does save your dominant hand.  

I copied these images from Pinterest.  They should help.

For your hands:

3-Minute Stretch and Massage for Hand Pain

https://pin.it/2lFyb76

 

For your wrists:

Wrist HEP

https://pin.it/5ehYo3P

Other Options

If you have access to a pool, then water movement is highly recommended.  Even if you can’t swim, walking and or any type of movement in the water is very helpful.  The water holds your body up and provides less stress on your knees and gives you more resistance as you move.

Biking is an activity that isn’t for everybody, but I found great relief from my buttock pain when I ride.  It seems that the position of bending over and extending my legs helps to relieve the nerve pain.  

Just a few minutes of any exercise can be very helpful and therapeutic.  Exercise has so many other benefits which I haven’t discussed in this article.  

Here is a link to some different exercises that you can do, some of which you can do from your chair.  They are easy and quick.  

Mental Health; Being Present

Let’s not forget our state of mind through all this.  I understand that this time in our history is very anxiety producing.  I don’t have any quick answers, but I know that talking about it helps just about anyone.  Therefore I hope you have someone you can talk to if you are anxious or depressed.  

If you don’t, email me in the comments below.  I’ll see if I can find an organization to reach out to you.  

If you are looking to just calm yourself, all the above exercises will help you.  Practicing mindfulness meditation can also help your state of mind.  See my article for information about how to practice it by clicking this link.  Just remember, you can’t do anything about the past, other than learn from your mistakes.  You have no control over the future other than to plan for it.  So be present, learn and plan.  

Conclusion

Was this helpful?  I sure hope so.  I would love to hear your feedback on this topic.  Especially if you found the exercises helpful.  Or if you have recommendations for other exercises or stretches, let me know.  Your comments are welcome.

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional.  I am a chronic pain sufferer.  I spend hours researching natural pain remedies.  And then I write about them, in hopes someone might find some relief.  So, I recommend you always speak to your doctor before you start something new as far as physical exercise.  If you are taking a class, be sure to tell your instructor of your issues.  

Also, as an affiliate marketer, I sometimes include links in my posts to products that I recommend.  I do not recommend any products in this post, so I do not have affiliate links here.

 

How is Green Tea Good for You?

How Is Green Tea Good For You?
dungthuyvunguyen/Pixabay

How is Green Tea Good for You?

Introduction

Are you in pain today? I am. Looking for some relief? I’m trying a new option. Green tea! How is Green Tea Good for you? Read on to find out.

So today was a painful day. I know those of you who are in pain have some days that are better than others. Me too. For some reason, and I’m not sure why, today was not a good day. I’m doing my stretches and taking some OTC pain medication (which I hate to do, but you know there are just some days that you can’t take it), but the pain is persisting.

So as I have been doing throughout my pain journey, I turned to the web to research some more options for relief. Thankfully I found some promising information about green tea.

What Did I Find?

Apparently green tea has a high amount of polyphenols. What, you ask are those? According to Wikipedia, polyphenols are a structural class of mainly natural, but also synthetic or semi synthetic, organic chemicals characterized by the presence of large multiples of phenol structural units. Oh, that’s helpful isn’t it?

What is a phenol? In layman’s terms, it is another compound in a group called hydroxyls. These compounds act as antioxidants. Antioxidants act as defenders of our body, cleaning up free radicals, which contribute to aging and cell damage.

Phenols are also referred to, in this case, as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. These compounds are what are being studied in relation to pain relief.

By defending our body with these antioxidants, they reduce inflammation. Inflammation in our joints can contribute to pain. This is especially true if you have an autoimmune disease like arthritis. I have been told I have arthritis and arthritis like symptoms. My dad had it so bad that he had to retire early. It deformed his hands and feet too. He had daily pain.

So, in essence the antioxidant properties of green tea fight the bad guys that cause inflammation. Want to know a bit more about inflammation? Go to this WebMD site. (Sorry about all the ads; not something I can control.)

 

How Is Green Tea Good For You?2
Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

 

How Much Should You Drink?

I have seen a recommended two cups daily. But another site said three to five cups. As with any food consumed in excess there can be dangerous side effects. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, it would be best to consult a medical professional before you start drinking green tea. Also, you should consult a professional to diagnose your pain for causes and possible solutions. (Although with much chronic pain, there don’t seem to be lasting solutions.)

Green tea contains caffeine, but a lower amount compared to coffee. There are only 25 mg of caffeine in an 8 oz cup. If caffeine keeps you awake, then be sure to not drink it in the evening.

I’m switching to green tea now. I am a coffee lover, but I like too much creamer and sugar in it; both of which are terrible for my inflammation and pain. In my journey to consume less sugar, this is a perfect time to switch. I had slowly reduced my sugar intake and so this seems like a good time to change drinks.

There is research that states that milk and soy reduce the availability of the helpful antioxidants, so you should not drink your tea with those if you are hoping for health benefits.

Other Forms of Green Tea

Supplements – Made from green tea extracts, these usually contain a greater amount of the ECGCs that are so beneficial. But because there is such a high level, there are instances where the high level can cause liver toxicity. If you go for a supplement, be sure to read the ingredients.

Matcha – Made from the green tea leaves, that have been ground up into a fine powder. These are added to a hot liquid. Matcha also contains more ECGCs just like the supplements, so be careful of liver toxicity.

Bottled Green Tea – Made just as brewed green tea is. Contains similar ECGCs as brewed. This is a more expensive way to consume your tea. And many products have sugar added.


Who May Benefit From Green Tea?

Obviously, I am recommending green tea for people in chronic pain, especially if you know there is inflammation involved. But in my research I found other conditions that may benefit from green tea.

Green tea:

  • Lowers risk of some cancers
  • Increases brain function
  • Assists in weight loss
  • May help prevent type 2 diabetes
  • Slows the aging process
  • Reduces chance of heart disease

I found this information on a site published by Healthline. Click here to read it. They back up all the claims with research.

Don’t Expect Miracles

If you’re like me, you want results now. But with natural products I think it takes time. I read that other factors will influence how much green tea will help you to feel better. Think about other changes you should make for your health. (I still struggle with some of them myself.)

  • Cut down on sugar consumption
  • Cut down on fat consumption
  • Increase movement
  • Get a decent night’s sleep

All of these above factors can influence your pain. I have written articles on all those topics. Here’s one on sleep.  Go to the search bar on my page to find others.

Other Precautions

From my research I also found some precautions. They are:

  • Supplements of green tea can cause liver toxicity because of the high dose of EGCG.
  • If you are taking Vitamin K if you are also on a blood thinner.
  • There appears to be an increase in gastric cancer associated with green tea, but that may be due to thermal effects.
  • If you drink it all day, it may lead to brittle bones and teeth because of the fluoride in most green teas.

Conclusion

What do you think? Are you a green tea drinker? Please let me know what benefits you get from drinking green tea.

Do you have questions about other foods or drinks that may benefit pain sufferers? Please leave them here. I will consider researching other products.

How Is Green Tea Good For You?3
Engin_Akyurt/Pixabay

What Is Mindfulness Meditation and Can It Help Manage My Pain?

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Tama66/Pixabay

Have you seen these terms before?  Mindfulness?  Meditation?  Do you know what they mean?

I have seen these terms a few times in my research for finding natural remedies for pain.  In fact, in the last issue of Reader’s Digest, there is an article titled, New Help for Aching Backs, where they mention mindfulness meditation.  

But I really don’t know what that is and how to practice it.  So I did some research to answer these questions.

  • What is Mindfulness?
  • What is Meditation?
  • What is Mindfulness Meditation?
  • How Do I Do It?
  • Can It Help Me Manage My Pain?
  • Is It Used For Other Situations?

What Is Mindfulness?

My understanding is that this concept means we are completely present in the moment we are living.  This means we are aware of our current experience. We are not thinking about the past and all it’s regrets and mistakes.  Nor are we worrying or projecting about the future and it’s concerns.

How many of you, like me, do not live in the moment?  Just sitting down to research this article, I find my mind worrying about other tasks I have on my list for the day.  That’s not being present. I also found myself thinking about past mistakes today while getting dressed. That’s not being present either.

So to be present and mindful, we are to discipline our mind for the experience we are in and focus on it alone.  One speaker defined it as paying attention in a systematic way. This is a moment where we are able to create (as I am doing right now), or have compassion for another, or enjoy a meal. (You get the idea!)

The Chinese character for mindfulness is a combination of “presence” and “heart”.  Hmm, so presence of heart. What does that mean to you?

As I studied this, I was reminded of two passages of scripture in the Bible that are applicable here.  

Philippines 6:8 says, “ Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, or worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things”.

Philippines 3: 13b says, “… forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead”

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
johnhain/Pixabay

What Is Meditation?

Not surprising to me, and according to Wikipedia, meditation is hard to define.  The simplest and most applicable definition I found was taking a few minutes a day (to start) to sit quietly, focusing on breathing and no other thoughts.  

Ideally, you practice concentrating on your breathing, and therefore live in that moment.  By practicing this concentration, you are training the mind to be aware of what is actually going on around you and within you at that very moment.

It is a practice of training the mind to focus on that one thought.  It is usually breathing, because concentrating on breathing does help us to relax. 

So What Is Mindfulness Meditation

I have found these terms used interchangeably, that is, when I seek to define mindfulness, I find an explanation of meditation.  But for clarity sake, I will attempt to write what I understand mindfulness meditation to be.  

  1. Experiencing the present by focusing on where you are, what you are doing, how you are feeling.
  2. Training your mind to focus.
  3. Sitting in a quiet, comfortable spot to focus on one thing.

Several articles stated that your mind will wander.  It is the natural state of our being because we are thinking creatures.  When you realize your mind is wandering, draw it back to your focus.  

These articles also, over and over, talk about being gentle to yourself when you realize you wandered.  Don’t judge yourself. What this means to me is to not berate myself because my mind wandered. Maybe take a deep breath and start again.

Focused breathing seems to be the most popular way to meditate, as we have to breathe anyway and it helps us to focus on one topic.

How Do I Do Mindfulness Meditation?

See above section.  But also;

  • Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably.  You don’t have to sit cross legged, as we see in so many images of meditation.  But you should be sure your butt is not lower than your legs. Your pelvis/buttock should be level with your hips.  Otherwise you are putting pressure on your lower back, which can lead to pain. For people in pain this is obviously not what you want.
  • Schedule this time when you can be fairly assured of no interruptions.  Worrying about interruptions or what the kids are doing will only distract you from the meditation.
  • Make a goal that is realistic for your first time.  Five minutes is fine! Over time, according to my research, some people meditate for an hour!
  • You can close your eyes or find one spot/object/place to focus on.  This helps your mind to attend to the now.
  • Focus on your breathing.  You don’t have to change it, just notice it.  And it alone.  
  • If your mind wanders (and it does) come back to focusing on breathing.  

You did it!

Can It Help Me Manage My Pain?

The science is still out on the efficacy of this practice.  Here’s a quote from the National Institute of Health (USA) that says, “…small positive effects for pain, and the most recent review on various pain conditions which found improvements in pain, pain acceptance, quality of life, and functional status. Authors of these reviews echoed concerns that there is limited evidence for efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions for patients with chronic pain because of methodological issues.”  If you want to read the whole article, click here to find it.

Even though there isn’t scientific proof, there are some people that have experienced pain relief through this practice.  I’m of the opinion that it’s worth a try, because you can do it without any side effects from medication, plus it is free. 

Here’s a video that is an example of how to do it.  There are several out there. Go and check it out after you watch this one.



I read about a program that teaches this in a book/CD/Kindle format.  It is You Are Not Your Pain Using Mindfulness to Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress, and Restore Well-Being—An Eight-Week Program.  The authors are both chronic pain sufferers.  You can get it from Amazon by clicking here.  (At this time I do not have an affiliate account, so I do not receive any remuneration for this recommendation.)  Read the reviews though. Apparently the Kindle format doesn’t have the CD. It’s $12.00 for the paperback.

I also reviewed a book about alternative therapies for chronic pain.  See this article about the book Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain.

Is It Used for Other Situations?

In the various articles I read, this practice is recommended for anxiety, depression, stress, headaches, and fibromyalgia.  I know personally that having chronic pain can leave you feeling anxious and/or depressed.  

So, even if there isn’t much science to back this up, wouldn’t it be helpful to spend some time focusing on some quiet mindfulness to redirect your thoughts and feelings?

Read moreWhat Is Mindfulness Meditation and Can It Help Manage My Pain?