Practicing mindfulness demonstrates that our anticipation of pain, as well as our negative feelings toward it, have a significant impact on how unpleasantly it is felt. Without the use of pharmacological pain killers, pain can be considerably decreased by self-awareness, open-minded evaluation, and an absence of anticipation. Hence, meditation for pain relief is a great alternative.
Yoga, with its numerous poses and stretches, is an effective therapy for relieving a variety of physiological pains. All that being said, it’s past time for a paradigm shift in how we think about using yoga for pain relief.
Mind Over Body
The mind’s potential to alleviate suffering is enormous. All we have to do is learn to be present in our bodies and understand that “pain is the remedy for suffering.”
Meditation creates a distinct neural process in the brain that is characterized by heightened sensory perception, as well as a cognitive disengagement, which replaces the traditional efforts to manipulate discomfort with a cognitive disassociation. This means that we can learn to feel less anguish by letting go of our feelings that are fearing the sensation of pain and merely learning to be connected with whatever happens to our bodies.
Connecting with our mind over body is effective, as proven with the phenomenon of placebo effects. Placebo treatments are employed to relieve a symptom despite the fact that the placebo’s qualities have very little to do with actual medical issues. The assumption that the placebo will function is what causes the symptoms to go away. The medical community is aware of this phenomenon, and most hypothesis testing involves comparing placebos to the active drug to guarantee effectiveness.
When it relates to discomfort, it has been proven that the expectation of pain alleviation from placebo medications is the key factor causing symptoms to decrease. When meditators encounter discomfort, they use this strategy of managing their anticipation.
How Yoga Helps with Pain Relief
Yoga is a mind-body activity that can benefit individuals with chronic pain by increasing flexibility, lowering inflammation, and allowing them to mentally manage their discomfort.
There are other advantages to meditation that help to explain why meditators are more pain tolerant. In fact, using yoga for pain relief has a scientific background as well. GABA is a neurotransmitter associated with pain-regulating parts of the brain, and an elevation in GABA can result in pain relief. GABA levels have been linked to certain yoga poses and breathing practices.
Tension headaches can be relieved by inversion positions, which cause dilatation of the bilateral carotid arteries. Yoga has also been demonstrated in numerous trials to be effective at relieving lower back pain via stretching. Hence, yoga and meditation for pain relief are powerful when done correctly and consistently.