Many years ago I was plagued with debilitating headaches associated with a number of seemingly unrelated activities that included cooking for company and sewing drapes for the house. I thought I might be allergic to natural gas or certain fabrics until one day I realized that I tensed my facial muscles when I concentrated intently on a project.
The cure was surprisingly simple: I became aware of how my body was reacting and changed it through self-induced behavior modification. I consciously relaxed my muscles whenever I focused on a task that could precipitate a tension-induced headache.
Fast-forward about five decades: Now it was my back that ached when I hurriedly cooked even a simple meal. And once again, after months of pain, I realized that I was transferring stress to the muscles of my back and had to learn to relax them, and to allow more time to complete a project to mitigate the stress. Happy to report, I recently prepared dinner for eight with nary a pain.
I don’t mean to suggest that every ache and pain can be cured by self-awareness and changing one’s behavior. But recent research has demonstrated that the mind – along with other nonpharmacological remedies — can be powerful medicine to relieve many kinds of chronic or recurrent pains, especially low back pain.
As Dr. James Campbell, a neurosurgeon and pain specialist, put it, “The best treatment for pain is right under our noses.” He suggests not “catastrophizing” – not assuming that the pain represents something disastrous that keeps you from leading the life you’ve chosen. Read More
A Different Approach To Pain Management: Mindfulness Meditation | Fadel Zeidan
Learn about the psychological and neural processes that mediate the relationship between self-regulatory practices and health!
Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy and the Center of Integrative Medicine’s Associate Director of Neuroscience at Wake Forest School of Medicine. His program of research is focused on understanding and identifying the psychological and neural processes that mediate the relationship between self-regulatory practices and health. Specifically, Dr. Zeidan’s research has uncovered the specific brain mechanisms involved in mindfulness meditation-based pain relief. He is currently developing meditation-based interventions to best target chronic pain.
Dr. Kim Bullock, a neuropsychiatrist at Stanford University, says she made the remarkable discovery by accident. While studying virtual reality for conditions like severe anxiety, a welcome side benefit of that treatment: patients’ chronic pain disappeared.
Lower back pain is one of the most common and debilitating injuries that can crush your workouts and progress. Anyone that has ever had a low back pain can tell you just how quickly it can prevent you from working out at all, let alone with enough intensity to see gains. In this video, I show you 8 ways that you can use to start getting low back pain relief in the weeks ahead.