At any given moment, approximately 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain which is difficult to diagnose, a term used to describe persistent pain that lasts longer than six months. This is caused by pain signals remaining active in the nervous system for extended periods of time, from a few months to even years. After suffering for that long, it’s no wonder people look to all kinds of methods for a bit of pain relief.
Over the past 25 years, chronic pain research has demonstrated that pain is influenced by both emotional and social factors. When you are chronically stressed, the stress itself can actually trigger chronic pain. There is some light at the end of the tunnel here as you can get natural pain relief by simply using simple relaxation techniques alongside your typical pain management regimen.
Read on to learn about different exercises you can use to reduce stress and relax your body and mind.
- Foursquare breathing technique: Foursquare breathing is a special type of deep breathing activity that keeps you focused on the way you breathe. It involves expanding and contracting the abdomen like you are inflating a balloon with each breath. Inhale deeply while counting to four, then hold your breath while counting to four. Exhale while counting to four, then hold one last time to a count of four. Repeat for a total of ten cycles.
- Self-talk: A well-known concept in psychological cognitive behavioral therapy, self-talk is that inner mental speech you give yourself throughout the day. Whether it is positive or negative, it greatly impacts how you feel emotionally and even physically. To manage your chronic pain, change the way you think about your pain and yourself so there is a positive spin on your words. You will soon be uplifted and feel like you can take on challenges once more.
- Guided imagery: Another common breathing technique, this one involves slow and deep breathing while using the power of your imagination to picture serenity. Think of a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and ultimately, relaxed. Reflect on the colors, sounds, smells, and your feelings in relation to these. Spend 5-10 minutes a day performing this relaxation technique.
- Mindfulness meditation: While sitting or lying down quietly, focus on your breathing without trying to control it. If you start to feel your pain creep up on you, simply acknowledge it. Think of your pain as a gust of wind that will soon pass and refocus on your breathing. Do this for at least 20 minutes a day.
Here at Garden State Pain Control we hope this post brings you a bit of relief from your chronic pain symptoms. For in-depth relief, check out the various services we offer in our health centers.