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?

Kaia App Review: Manage Pain Naturally

Review of Kaia app

Kaia App Review: Pain Management, Naturally

Help for Chronic Pain

In this review I will talk about the Kaia app that I have been using for awhile.  I am using it on my smartphone.  I have chronic pain in my buttock and am constantly searching for natural ways to relieve my pain.  I purchased this app in hopes it would help me. The app claims that by using it you can manage your pain and find relief through using it.  Read more to find out if it is for you.  

Chronic Back Pain
Pixabay: mohamed_hassan

What You Will Learn in This Review

  • First I will address why you may want to use this app. 
  • Then, I will give you some background on the company.
  • Furthermore, I will talk about the three major sections of the app. 
  • I will give examples of those sections.
  • I will give my overall impressions as well.
  • It is my hope you find this review helpful in your journey through pain.

Why You May Want to Use This App

Are you in pain?  If you suffer from chronic pain then I am in the same boat as you.  And it is difficult. Maybe you have trouble getting out of bed. Or standing.  Or walking. Been there. Doing that. This app is specifically set for back pain.  And although I suffer most from sciatica-like pain, I also have back pain sometimes. This app has helped manage that.

You may also want to use this app because you want to manage your pain naturally.  There are no negative side effects from using this app.  

The only downside of this app?  It takes motivation and commitment on your part.  (They even address motivation in the training.) So read further to see if this app is for you.  

If you want to read what I had to say about motivation you can click here to see another post.

Medical, Technology and Other Amazing Stuff

Kaiahealth (the name they call themselves) states that they have medical advisers, as well as science and AI technology.  The combination of all this wisdom is a personalized program that aims to help you relieve your pain.  

The app is free to download to try it out, but if you want to continue to use it on a regular basis, you will need to pay for it.  It’s $29.99 for three months in the US. I paid $89.99 for a year. That’s about 25 cents a day. Well worth the cost I think. It is available in other countries.  It was developed in Germany.  

The Three Sections of the Kaia App

There are three categories of the app; Knowledge, Exercise and Breathing.  Other items included in the upgraded app are an Introduction and Motion Tracking Coach.  Let’s cover the three main sections.

Knowledge

Knowledge of Back Pain
Pixabay/Foundry

In this section Kaia provides information about pain, why exercise is important, some physiological content and more.  I am currently on a section that discusses motivation. Motivation is something I struggle with daily.  

Just a personal note.  I know that stretches and movement and exercise help me feel better, but I fight having to do them.  I know I am not alone. One of the aspects I like about this app is that it is not that time consuming.  I would estimate you can do all three sections in less than half an hour.  

In the Knowledge section, you can explore at your own pace and time commitment.  The app constantly lets you respond with continuing or ending that particular session.  It picks up where you left off until you complete that particular subject.

The information is in lay terms, so most of it I can grasp.  I know that adding knowledge to my journey to manage my pain is helpful in continuing the trip.  Plus in my mind it adds credence to the program.  

At the end you are given the option to rate the session and provide feedback.

Exercise

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.  You must work at the exercises to reap the benefit.  I hope you are one of those people who takes responsibility for your health.  If not, then this app is not for you. But if you are, then I think you will find success here.  

The app tells you how much time you will need for the section (usually about 12 minutes, give or take), what equipment you will need (usually a mat and a towel) and you can preview the exercises before you start.  

Exercise Section Kaia
Pixabay/mohamed_hassan

Once you start the section you can pause it at anytime.  There are usually 2 rounds of 5 exercises. Each exercise takes about 30 seconds.  Before it starts the program shows you how to do the exercise, which is very helpful.  This is why using it on your smartphone is so great. You have it right there in front of you.  

The male and female voices that guide you through the exercises are calming and encouraging.  I appreciate that. I don’t need someone yelling at me or telling me I am a wimp! You can also adjust the difficulty level at the end of the session so that the next session will be easier or more difficult.

Here’s an example of the exercise portion of the app.

Breathing

The last section is a topic that has been very helpful in my pain management.  It is learning about how breathing impacts our pain.  

This section walks you through different sessions of breathing exercises, where you learn about relaxation and calming techniques.  This happens to be my favorite section because it is the most enjoyable. I find after I end this session I am relaxed and feel a sense of warmth.  

Practicing calming breathing is helpful to decrease pain’s power.  We all know how pain can grab all our attention and stress out the rest of our body and mind.  Pain can cause us to take short anxious breaths. In this section you learn to control your breathing to assist in relaxing and calming yourself. 

After you complete the section for the day you are given the opportunity to rate it and give any feedback.  

An Added Benefit; A Great Option

I nearly forgot to mention that Kaia has a Coach section.  This is different from the Motion Tracking Coach. In this feature you can ask just about any question and get a personal answer.  It is helpful for those questions that come up as you use the app or if something isn’t covered in a section.  

I have used it mostly to respond to challenges in the exercise section.   I am a senior and because of my pain I can’t do some exercises. Here is where I have found answers to concerns about those struggles.  But you won’t be limited to just that topic. The Coach is there to help you use the app and succeed at using it.  

How Do I Rate This App?

Rating Kaia app
Pixabay/Pixloger

I give this app 5 stars.  The company really knows what they are doing.  Yeah, it costs money, but most treatments to handle pain do cost money.  I like it because it:

  • Has clear instructions
  • Is easy to do
  • Isn’t very time consuming
  • Has a section where you can ask questions
  • Can be adjusted to my abilities
  • Uses science to address all parts of pain management

Conclusion

If you are suffering with back pain, and there are thousands of us that are suffering, this app could be just the thing to help you.  It requires you to take responsibility and action, but the payoff may be less pain. I recommend this app because I have found it helpful.  If you want to feel better, why not try it?

Click here to go to the website and learn more and get the app.

And please leave any comments related to this article.  Your comments help my website to help others.

What Do You Mean? My Chronic Pain Can Cause Fatigue?

whoismargot – pixabay

Can Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

I am almost always tired.  And I’m pretty sure it’s not because I:

  • Don’t eat right 
  • Don’t get 8 hours of sleep
  • Don’t exercise

Because I do all those things!  And more. I concentrate on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I go to bed at a reasonable hour and set my alarm for 8 hours later. I try to walk and do yoga everyday. My blood labs are fine too. So why am I tired? 

I think my tiredness has to do with having chronic pain.  Pain wears you out, and if it is chronic, it wears you out everyday. And it can impact your ability to function, your ability to sleep restfully, and affect your emotional and psychological outlook.  

What is Chronic Pain?

First off, let’s define chronic pain.  It is an unpleasant sensation or discomfort that lasts longer than the cycle for normal healing.  It may or may not be a result from an injury. It remains active in the nervous system for months and years.  It may cause tissue damage, or may be a result of tissue damage. 

nastya_geep – Pixabay

Through my research I have noted that chronic pain has several side effects, besides the obvious one of being in pain.  Some of those effects are:

  • Tense muscles
  • Inability to move, or a reduced desire to move
  • Overeating or not eating at all
  • Depression or feeling sad
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Worry over expenses of treatments for pain
  • Limited activities and social connections
  • Focusing on the pain and nothing else, so you’re not much fun to be with

What is Fatigue?

This is an overall feeling of lack of energy and motivation, even tiredness, although fatigue is more than being tired.  It is frequently associated with illness, especially if pain is involved. I read that it accompanies arthritis and fibromyalgia to name two.  But other illnesses can be associated as well. Furthermore, I read that inflammation can cause fatigue. And some medications can cause the side effect of fatigue.  So, make sure that you have all these issues investigated for you to reach a conclusion of what is causing your fatigue.  

For this article, I am focusing on chronic pain and fatigue.  I want to know the association, and more importantly, how I can manage it and hopefully feel better.  

I read in this article (Fatigue) that fatigue affects us all differently.  This is a very helpful article, and I recommend you read it.  I did find there were some sentences that repeated but overall the article is very good.  

Can Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

Probably the biggest correlation between chronic pain and fatigue is that chronic pain can interfere with sleep.  If you aren’t sleeping well, then you are going to be fatigued. I know, not very profound, huh? Even if you plan to get a good night’s sleep, sometimes that doesn’t happen.  I have written an article on getting a good night’s sleep. Click here.  Hopefully one of those suggestions might help you.  Let me know in the comments if it did. Or if you have other sleep suggestions.  

Furthermore, the physical, emotional, and mental energy you expend to deal with the pain can be exhausting, and this leads to fatigue.  Pain can just plain wear you down. It takes a physical toll as the body tries to adjust to the pain signals and inflammation. There is an emotional cost in feeling down, being discouraged and possibly depressed.  And our mental state of being tired interferes with being able to think clearly and even stay awake!

So in answer to the question; yes, chronic pain can cause fatigue.  Therefore, be gentle to yourself as you deal with not just the pain, but all the additional results from chronic pain. 

What Can You Do To Feel Better?

PLAN YOUR DAY:

Food: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve used is to cook a healthy meal with several portions involved.  That way you have expended the least amount of energy for several meals. You are using your mind to plan ahead.  This is very important when you are in pain and fatigued.  

I am on a limited food plan, high in protein and produce.  Finding something I like can be a challenge. When I do, I make a lot.  I just made a pork tenderloin with acorn squash in the crockpot. I’m going to have it for breakfast tomorrow.  It helps when I have something yummy to look forward to in the morning.  

The crock pot is a great tool!  I understand the Instant Pot is even better, but I don’t have one yet.  I highly recommend tools like these to make your life easier. That is one of the recommendations I found.  Think of ways to make life easier.  

If you have some tips for making life easier please leave them in the comments.  You will be helping all of us.

Watch your caffeine intake too.  There is that desire for a cup of coffee when you are tired, but it can boomerang on you and keep you awake when you want to be asleep.  I read that we should stop caffeine 10 hours before our scheduled bedtime. Since I go to bed pretty early, like 9 p.m., that means I must stop drinking caffeine by 11 a.m.  

Also, check to see if you are getting enough Vitamin D.  A deficiency in this vitamin can contribute to fatigue, as well as other problems.  Apparently most of us need a supplement.  

May I also suggest you keep a food diary?  Track what you eat and how you feel at the end of the day and the next day.  You will feel better as you eat better. Tracking it will help you practice better eating.

Free-Photos – Pixabay

Work:  Those of us who have chronic pain and fatigue take longer to complete tasks.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t complete them. I know some of my fellow bloggers produce 2-3 blogs a week.  I can’t! But I can produce one a week. I plan out my week and split the task up into 4 days. I use 3 days to write about 500 words a day and the 4th day to finalize it.  Then I post on the 5th day.  

That’s all I can do!  So plan your goals realistically.  As you go through your days, you will find you have to tweak your schedule.  But I highly recommend you make a schedule. You will gain a great deal of satisfaction from completing your list.  And even if you don’t complete them all, you will have accomplished something, which is a great feeling. And by evaluating your list and your accomplishments you will be able to adjust your schedule.

Some other good advice I read about was to pace yourself.  Know yourself well enough to not push if you don’t feel up to it.  The word balance comes to mind. And balance is critical to those of us in pain.  Self care and awareness of our capabilities as well as our limitations is crucial.

Breaks:  This is great advice for anyone, whether you suffer with chronic pain or not.  I read that short frequent breaks can make a positive impact on your fatigue, work output and general wellbeing.  Just a two minute break can help! And especially for those of us in chronic pain, changing positions is vital.

So get up from reading this and take a two minute walk.  You’ll also help your eyes to avoid strain by changing your focus.  And it clears your mind, especially if you are able to go outside and commune with nature for a bit.  Try it. I bet you’ll find you are more productive and feel better.  

Pexels – Pixabay

Movement:  In almost every post I have made on this site I strongly encourage movement.  That is particularly important if you are in chronic pain. Again, even if it’s just a little movement, it’s a start.  

Sometimes I walk.  Sometimes I do stretches or yoga. See these articles of mine for what I enjoy doing. Review of Jane Adams’ Gentle Yoga DVD – A Self Care Natural Solution for Pain and Inflammation.  And Review of Emily Lark’s Back to Life DVD – A Natural Remedy for Pain

I hope to get back to swimming, which I can do all year round in SoCal!  What do you do? Let us know, we might like to try it too!

This following link is to a great website I just found.  I tried to contact them to see if they had a newsletter, but was unsuccessful.  But they have some great information about chronic pain, seeing as their name is Institute for Chronic Pain.  That link directs you to their article about Fatigue and Chronic Pain, which as you will see, gave me some of these ideas.  I hope you go there and find some help for your suffering. And investigate the other articles.  

RyanMcGuire – Pixabay

 

Find Joy:  I know it sounds like that would be the last thing you can do, but by focusing your mind on that which gives you joy, you are rewiring your brain to not give the pain as much power.  You can go with meditation practices, or just watching a funny movie. The meditation will probably help you sleep. Laughing produces happy hormones. Whatever you choose, take the bull by the horns and go for it.

Conclusion

Yes, your chronic pain can cause fatigue.  But you can start practicing some of these suggestions to make a difference in your life.

Your comments and thoughts will be helpful to this community of pain sufferers.  Please contribute. Thank you.

 

Can Music Relieve Pain?

Can Music Relieve Pain?

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Introduction

Are you in pain?  I am. I know you don’t really want to live with it.  You want it to stop. You want to live without chronic pain.  But the reality may be that you will have to live with it. I have, for the past several years.  Have you? What have you done to make life liveable? Do you have days that you can barely face the world?  Or even face yourself?

This website was the result of my pain journey.  I have spent hours researching how to deal with chronic pain.  My head was crammed with information. I started to test out some of the advice I was finding.  The posts I have written feature my collected information. I am honest in my evaluation. Some things work.  Some things don’t. I believe different options work for different people.  

As I continue my research, I am always hoping for a new exciting development in the chronic pain field.  So far, I haven’t found it.  

I realize there is more awareness and compassion in the medical field for chronic pain sufferers.  That wasn’t the case years ago. The common philosophy was that a sufferer should respond to what the physician prescribed, and if they didn’t then there was something wrong mentally.  I’m so thankful I have not been treated that way. I hope you haven’t either.  

Here’s what’s current and working for people

I’ve addressed most of these topics on previous posts.  Click on the links to check them out.  Some more in depth than others. Meditation, mindfulness and focus still need more research.  

Music

Today I am writing about Music.  What, you may ask, does music have to do with chronic pain?  Good question. I hope to answer that and more thoughts in this post.  

Research thus far has not been able to define the reason why music can assist in pain management.  The current wisdom is that music affects the brain in ways that can interrupt the pain message that is sent to the brain.  There are some instances where music has helped people with brain damage and mental illness to gain some victory in overcoming their disability.  

Apparently when the brain concentrates on music, the pathways in the brain are busy enough to block out the pain messages, or at least jam them up.  Music involves your hearing, your concentration, your emotions, and probably movement. I like to rock out to 60s tunes while I’m sitting at the stop light.  You know, move my upper body to the beat, snap my fingers. Or sometimes dance around the apartment as if I were a teenager. Check out this article from ScienceNordic titled Music Can Relieve Chronic Pain.

Wind instruments, Brass instruments, Friction membranophone - Soinuenea.jpg

Music Genre

The effect it can have on managing chronic pain has not been researched enough.  But one early study showed that the choice of music made by the sufferer made a difference in the music’s ability to relieve the suffering.  Just the act of picking out the music to listen to, researching the options and music that is available, can be a distraction to the brain to focus it off of suffering.  Furthermore, some types of music relaxes the individual by releasing endorphins that can be natural pain relief hormones. Just like opioids; only naturally!  Here’s another interesting article about this topic.  

You have probably experienced such feelings throughout your life, right?  Stop and think about some piece of music that is a favorite. For example, as a teenager growing up in the 60s in Southern California, Summer in the City, by the Lovin’ Spoonful became a benchmark to draw me back to those hot evenings of my youth.  Everytime I hear that song I am transported back to that feeling of hope, joy, and possibility.  It helped that I was cruising around in a 1967 Camaro, with 4 on the floor. 🙂 Does a song you love have that same power?  

Or think about the music that plays in an acupuncturist office.  I have experienced three different practitioners in my journey of pain.  The one I am using now is the most helpful. See here to read about my search for the right one.  The office plays relaxing quiet music which helps my mind to relax.  I am even able to take a nap! And that’s with needles stuck in me. And I don’t take naps or fall asleep easily.  

Music used with meditation has been shown to relax the listener.  Meditation is another form of natural pain relief. The combination of meditation and music can be a powerful natural remedy against pain.  Involved in this practice is some form of relaxation. I found this article while researching. I don’t actually care for the two music videos it features, but you might like them.  It’s a place to start. Click here: Can Music Relieve Chronic Pain?

Also think about all the music that Disney uses throughout their parks.  The music is happy and upbeat. No wonder it is the happiest place on earth!

Composer Robert Schumann is said, “To send light into the darkness of meant’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.”  Music brings light into the darkness of our suffering.

The following video was very inspiring and profound.  It got me thinking about how powerful music is.

 

Where to find music?

Wow!  The options are legion as far as apps are concerned.  Check out this link that evaluates the offerings out there.  It is written for Androids, but I believe the same apps are available for IOS.  

I’m using Pandora.  I paid for the basic subscription to avoid the ads.  But if you don’t mind the ads, it’s free. I believe that’s the case for most of the other apps.  I also will use YouTube to search a genre depending on my mood and have that playing while I work on my website.  There are so many choices out there, it is easy to find something for everyone.

The key to music relieving pain is that you are active in your listening.  This fits in with my philosophy of being proactive about your health. What is active listening? From my research I found these characteristics of an active music listener.

  • How does the music make you feel? Evaluate your response to what you are hearing.  Do you feel different feelings while the music plays?
  • What instruments do you hear? Try to name them.
  • What’s the melody?  
  • What are the lyrics?
  • If the music is classical, research why the composer wrote it.  It will add to your experience.
  • Does it make you want to move?  Cry? Sing along?  

This type of activity requires your full attention. This in itself will divert your mind from the pain.  But then you gain other benefits too. Your focus has shifted from your pain to an engaging activity. The type of music will change your mood.  For instance, classical helps me think and inspires me. My 60s music makes me happy and I have to get up and dance and sing.  

Here’s a place to start.  Look at what they claim!  “The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe“.  I don’t have a link right now, so I suggest you search it to find the best deal.

Conclusion

What about you?  I’m sure you have your favorites.  I want very much to hear about them, and why they are your choices.  Your comments will help others, opening each of us to new ideas. And hopefully to less pain.  How has music helped you with your pain?  Or with other issues in your life?  Join this community to help others.  

 

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