Back pain can be all consuming. You’re fortunate if you get relief while you’re sleeping, but even then, the pain begins anew from the moment you try to climb out of bed. Our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey is here to help you identify what’s causing your discomfort and to find the best possible solution and relief. Our solutions may include physical therapy, exercise, medication, or even surgery. As we work to find the right answer for your specific condition, there are also a few mindfulness techniques that have been shown to provide real help for physical pain. These exercises do not replace medication or physical remedies, but it is certainly worth trying them as a complement to those measures.
The most basic thing you need to know about controlling your pain through mindfulness is the importance of conscious breathing. Just as women who are going through childbirth are taught to use deep breaths to power through their labor contractions, paying attention to your inhalation and exhalation can calm your response to pain and give you a sense of control. Start by finding a comfortable position, and relax as much as possible. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, paying close attention to the way your body feels as you move through this. The simple act of slowing your breathing and taking in deep breaths, then letting them go as fully as you can, is where each of the following techniques begins.
• Sensory Splitting – This technique’s aim is to help you stop thinking of your pain as an overriding condition, thus eliminating a great deal of stress. Instead of thinking of pain in a general term, break it down into different sensations. Does it feel hot or cold? Does it feel like a stabbing pain, a burning pain, or a throbbing pain? Is it a constant or does it come in waves? When you can break your pain down in this way, it begins to feel less permanent. It will also help you describe what you’re feeling more accurately when you come in to the office.
• Switching Attention – Your back is the source of your pain, and when you focus on it, you unconsciously spread the sensation throughout your body. Instead, identify a part of your body that is pain free and focus on it. No matter whether it’s your face, your foot or your finger, pay attention to the lack of pain that is being felt there and let that sensation become more important than your back. By taking your mental focus off of your back and putting it elsewhere, you allow yourself to experience some relief. Similarly, you can identify something in your environment that gives you pleasure – it can be the view from your window, the smell of a candle, or stroking your cat or dog, or try imagining a place where you felt great happiness (this is known as imagery). The goal is to do more than simply pull your attention away from your pain, but to truly focus on and think about what is pleasurable. This can take you past your discomfort.
Mindfulness techniques can help to ease discomfort, but to find physical relief you need the help of our qualified lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey. Contact us today to set up an appointment and put yourself back on the road to good health.