For some patients, no matter what they do, they still have back pain – and they’re ready to try anything that might help them alleviate the pain and get back into their busy lives. If you and your doctor are concerned that your back pain may be the result of stress in your life, you will want to try ways to reduce the stress in your body. And one therapy that comes up time and time again as something that is effective at relieving stress – meditation.
What scares most people away from meditation is the stereotypical idea that it needs to be done with your legs crossed and your hands in a prayer position. It seems a little far fetched and impossible when you see the yogis and the other spiritual gurus meditating. But meditation can be accessible to the everyday person as well. Meditation is simply the calming of the mind in order to clear yourself of thoughts. When you do this, you can relax your body fully and possibly even reduce pain that you feel in your body.
Here are some ways that you can meditate:
• Sit in a room where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and try to empty your mind of all thoughts. You might want to listen to some lyric-less music in order to give your mind something else to focus on besides your To Do list. Try to sit there for five minutes at first.
• Try focusing on nothing but a candle flame or a picture that doesn’t bring to mind other thoughts you might have in your head.
• Realize that you will have thoughts come in and out of your mind, but it’s how to deal with them that makes meditation work. Instead of sitting there and berating yourself for thinking, think the thought and then let it go. Try again to empty your mind.
• Focus on how your body is feeling without judging anything you feel. For two minutes, just think about how your body feels, how your muscles feel, and how you feel right now.
• Focus on the outside world for a few minutes and simply notice everything that’s going on around you. Look at the colors and the things that are around you without thinking about anything by what you see.
• Go for a walk and only focus on the way that your feet hit the ground or the park around you. • Close your eyes and count how many times your breath moves in and out. Whenever your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to your breath.
• Think about one word with one syllable that you can repeat yourself with each breath in and out. For example, you might want to focus on the word, ‘health.’
• Purchase a guided meditation tape or CD that will instruct you how to move your concentration and your focus.
• On your computer screen saver or other screen savers in your life, type out the words ‘pain free’ and have them flash whenever the screens are idle. This will help to reinforce your concentration on being pain free.
• You can also create guided meditations for yourself by closing your eyes, breathing in and out, and then picturing yourself going on a journey somewhere different from anywhere on earth. Think about walking to this area, what you see, who you see there, and simply observe the pictures in your head. After a while, go back the way you came to this place and open your eyes.
• Some people find that counting their breaths with their eyes closed also helps them relax. Ideally, you will want to try to meditate for at least ten minutes a day – especially when you are feeling pain. Many people find that they are able to fit in a few minutes here and there each day – and that’s fine. The effects are cumulative, so don’t feel that you need to sit down for an hour each day.
You should dress in comfortable clothes and make sure you’re in a place where you can not be easily distracted. Closing your eyes isn’t necessary, but many people find it helpful to keep their concentration steady and focused on their breathing. By building up your concentration ‘muscles,’ you will be able to divert your attention more easily from the stresses of your day as well as any pain you are feeling. It is also thought that the more you can concentrate on not thinking, the more you will be able to change your focus when you feel pain that you don’t want to feel. There are also studies being done on the healing properties and connections between meditation and back pain.