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Meditation for Back Pain and Arthritis

Posted Jun 09 2010 12:00am

San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:

Meditation for back pain and arthritis
I follow quite a few pain blogs every day and try and stay on top of what is happening in the world of back pain and chronic pain syndromes. I use this information to help educate my patients, doctors, and staff, as well as the readers of this blog on natural solutions for pain reduction.

Meditation has been around for thousands of years. While science has yet to fully understand what is actually happening, they are able to measure the physiological effects of meditation as it relates to stress reduction and pain control. The results are outstanding.

When you consider that pain is actually a 'perception' by the brain of damaged tissue at a particular body part, it's easy to see how patients with chronic pain can actually 'anticipate' this pain, creating neurological patterns that can contribute to chronic pain syndromes. This is especially true with chronic back pain, neck pain, and arthritis.   

Anyway...I came across an article today based on a study done by scientists at Manchester University entitled:

Meditation 'reduces the emotional impact of pain making it easier to bear'

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Dr Brown said: 'The results of the study confirm how we suspected meditation might affect the brain.

'Meditation trains the brain to be more present-focused and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events. This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse.'

Dr Brown said the findings should encourage further research into how the brain is changed by meditation practice.

He said: 'Although we found that meditators anticipate pain less and find pain less unpleasant, it’s not clear precisely how meditation changes brain function over time to produce these effects.

'However, the importance of developing new treatments for chronic pain is clear: 40 per cent of people who suffer from chronic pain report inadequate management of their pain problem.'

My Take: Meditation should be incorporated in medical back pain and arthritis clinical protocols. It’s fairly easy to learn how to do this or to find highly trained experts who can conduct workshops at medical facilities that can teach back pain and arthritis patients, as well as many other chronic pain syndrome patients such as Fibromyalgia patients, how to help manage pain…without drugs or surgery.  It's a lot cheaper too.

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic San Francisco.

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