Mindfulness and Pain
Thu June 16th 2016
There is a lot of media talk about mindfulness and what it's 'good for' but this can give quite a misleading impression. It also makes it sound as though mindfulness is some sort of panacea for all our ills, I wish!
The practice of mindfulness is not actually a solution for anything, but don't stop reading just yet! We can all get caught up with the belief that things need 'fixing' or changing, It's our human nature. We have what is known as the 'Appraisal network' in our brain. It sub-consciously influences what we pay attention to and almost instantly judges all situations as either 'nice' and encourages us to move towards them, or 'nasty' and to move away.
None of us choose to be in pain, and of course our appraisal network encourages us to 'get away' and do whatever we can to change this unpleasant experience. However this doesn't always work out so well for us, as many people who suffer with long term and persistent pain know. Despite our best efforts the pain continues, why? Largely because the brain and nervous system still thinks there is something we need protecting from and the pain is there to warn us of the 'danger' long after the original injury has healed.
When we consider pain in this way, there is nothing left to 'fix' and no amount of drugs, surgery or physiotherapy is likely to help.
So with Mindful Medicine we take a different approach. Understanding how the sensation of pain is created and what it really means is important and this needs to make sense to the individual concerned. Then we stop trying to fix it! This is partly because there is nothing to fix, and partly because this hasn't worked out so well before or we wouldn't be considering do this at all.
This is very different from ignoring or avoiding the pain. When we learn to stop fighting the pain and instead start to turn our attention towards it, we open up to the possibility that it can change. This takes time and courage but when this Mindful approach is taught in a standardized program by an experienced teacher the research suggests it can decrease the severity of the pain by up to 40% and the unpleasantness of the pain by almost 60%, and all without ongoing treatment, drugs or surgery!
You can learn more in our upcoming webinar or sign up for our online course in Mindful recovery from chronic pain on the web site www.drnickpenney.com
For information on courses and events: http://drnickpenney.com/events/