|March 7, 2011 issue|
In The End of Ouch? by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the emphasis is that chronic pain is a serious and major problem, even a disease in and of itself, but there is hope because it is starting to be recognized in a new light. He suggests the following advice, something that I know has helped me:
Meditation may benefit chronic-pain sufferers by reducing the emotional impact of their condition. A settling, transcendent state puts the pain in perspective and helps it dwindle in importance.He points the way to this relaxation guided meditation exercise video from the American Chronic Pain Association. I think guided meditation like this can be helpful, especially if you're new to meditation, although I don't find this particular exercise to be all that worthwhile.
I would also recommend this exercise by the wonderful Pema Chodron, an example of Tonglen meditation. I love the idea she presents of changing pain into compassion.
I've had a consistent meditation practice on and off over the years, and I really want to get back into it and make it a regular part of my life. I try to practice life in a meditative state as much as possible - to live in the moment. My pain constantly calls attention to itself, and I've had to learn to accept this. Even though I feel the pain, I've gotten to a place where I can just be with the pain without letting it control me. Unless the pain is at its worst - when it is, all the meditation exercises in the world aren't going to help the constant loop in my brain regarding how bad my feet and legs feels. But meditation generally helps. Whether you deal with pain or not, give it a try!
I'll be back next Monday to deal with the meatier article in this issue of Time on pain which I seem to recall had lots of stuff I want to comment on and share.