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Thread: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

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    Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Namaste ji,

    I have a condition that creates chronic pain. The primary way I have controlled this over the years is through meditation. It's usually very effective and is so much more preferable to chemicals, I have to take enough of those already.

    However, in the last couple of years as my meditation practice has expanded to spiritual meditation combined with yogic practice, I have found that the effect of practice on pain control has become exaggerated. I see this as a good thing usually, but just recently I've had an experience that has worried me that maybe it's not wholly positive.... An injury that should be quite painful and which has barely slowed me down.

    Does anyone have experience with this, and possibly advice? Is this okay? I find it kind of troubling...

    Thank you.

    ~Pranam

    Edit to Add: Just to add some context, the injury is to my wrist and at the moment seems to be a dislocation/relocation, but I'm under doctor's orders to see a hand and wrist specialist if it's not doing better within a week or do.

    when taking my vitals, while my pulse was fairly controlled my blood pressure was very high - and I have low, healthy bp. This is a sign of the body experiencing significant pain. And while it does hurt some, it doesn't feel so bad that it would merit that kind of bp. Unless I try to turn my wrist or lift something in such a way that puts pressure on the outside of the joint, then I really feel it.

    I'm not complaining, it's actually kind of neat. But it's still troubling because pain response is an important thing that keeps us from potentially worse injury.

    So I guess I missed still looking for anyone who may have had similar experiences, and also any advice from anyone more accomplished in meditation and yoga as to if this is normal or not.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by Aanandinii; 15 June 2015 at 01:09 PM.
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

  2. #2

    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control


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    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Namaste Markendaya ji,

    My thanks for taking the time to respond, but I don't see how this link applies to my question.

    While the meditation I practice is not Mindfullness meditation, per se, I believe I have been clear that Meditation for pain control something I am already doing and have been doing - successfully - for years. I am well aware that it works in the way shown in the video, I have direct experience with this.

    However, no matter how much pain control meditation one practices, or even general meditation, that shouldn't mean that when one dislocates, possibly fractures, a major joint that they would simply look at it bemusedly and say, 'Huh. That probably wasn't good.'. Which is exactly what just happened to me and why I posted this question.

    I'm not sure this level of dampening pain is a normal thing. Or is it? Should one be able to take such an injury and not feel the impact of the injury, at least initially?

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

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    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Vannakkam: Maybe you just have really natural excellent pain tolerance due to karma, or genetic disposition. As a person who has learned to live with pain, I'll gladly switch positions with you any day.

    My Guru's teachings on it was to focus on something else. When awareness is elsewhere, one notices pain less.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Namaste EM ji,
    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Maybe you just have really natural excellent pain tolerance due to karma, or genetic disposition. As a person who has learned to live with pain, I'll gladly switch positions with you any day.
    I'm sorry to hear that you too deal with chronic pain. It's not a burden I would wish on anyone.

    I've never had a high tolerance before, to be honest. At least I don't think so. It's certainly grown over the years, maybe kind of like how regular exposure to spicy foods can increase one's tolerance for chilies... Do you feel chronic pain has helped your tolerance to grow some?
    But this is definitely a first for me. And frankly I find it bizarre. I'm sorry if it seems I'm complaining about something like not hurting when perhaps I should, I'm really not. I'm simply concerned. If this isn't a normal thing, then maybe I need to consider bringing it to my doctor. If it's not related to meditation practice, then perhaps it's a more mundane neurological issue.
    My Guru's teachings on it was to focus on something else. When awareness is elsewhere, one notices pain less.
    Thank you for sharing his wisdom. Perhaps I'm simply fretting for no reason and need to focus on something else as well.

    ~Pranam
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

  6. #6

    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Namaste Aanandinii Ji,


    Firstly if your concerned please see a doctor and take these comments as a general understanding of how meditation practices are known to help and even heal physical, mental and emotional pain.

    The body in many ways is a mysterious thing full of potentials we are unaware of. I posted the video because it was the first thing that came to mind about someone doing meditation and feeling less pain and the effects shown by neurological scans showing how the brain also confirms that there is a reduction in pain.

    When the body is relaxed it can also release natural painkillers, my wife is a nurse and confirms this from medical sciences, and just like pain relief drugs such as ibuprofen not only numb the pain but also act as anti-inflammatory, so it aids the healing process, I would consider that states that arise within meditation can also act in the same way. I have done many types of sports over the years and suffered a few injuries, and I can vouch when when I hit a certain level of awareness that comes via sadhana then the pain usually is abated and I self heal. I had an experience just recently falling down a cliff and smashing my knee and shoulder and later again slipping down and rock and smashing my shin, but at the same time I was in a good place energy wise spiritually and even in that state managed to walk up and down Kedanatha which is a brutal walk in one day and felt very little pain. I stayed in Tri Yugi Narayana and after I came out of being stuck in the mountains for 5 days and them seeing my condition and the how badly my shin was and the bone out of place on my shoulder, with almost the bone showing through the skin in 2 days I was more or less back to normal, I had faith in Snarn ( holy bathing) at Tri Yugi Narayana and my Sadhana was good and the locals considered my fast recovery as an act of God.

    Crux of the matter is that when awareness is within itself, it has more power within its own nature than the feelings of the body, bodily sensations while never absent are less apparent because one is abiding naturally in more natural states, and within this state of awareness the body will heal by itself, not once did I feel I had to take medicine or go and see a doctor, I was in pain but at the same time I was in a strong state of self awareness.

    So my point is if awareness is good and healthy and your practice is good, or your spiritual karma has hit a ripened stage then the body will work in a different way, and it can certainly self heal. How is it possible that a 91 year old sadhu can do char dharm yatra over the mountain passes with a bent over back and no shoes, and walk faster than most half his age, we are not the body.

    Through meditation or sadhana prana naturally becomes a more prominent force, and many healers use pranic energy to heal physical and mind based conditions. So again your prana maybe more free and will again self heal and feel less pain.

    EM Ji
    My Guru's teachings on it was to focus on something else. When awareness is elsewhere, one notices pain less.
    While I am sure this works if done skillfully, I think I have to disagree with this, no offence meant. With the practices of Mindfulness and Vipassana one learns to study feelings and sensations as they arise with no interpretation, and through that awareness one can see the nature of pain, and the majority of the time one will feel more pain if one becomes averse and avoids the pain, by facing pain we overcome it because we see it as it is. But its a sensitive subject because there are varying degrees of pain and varying degrees of power in meditation.

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    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Vannakkam: Upon further reflection, and since I understand it as out of the ordinary now, time to see good doctor, I think. My mother, during her last years with Alzheimer's had an undiagnosed broken leg for a bit. Either she couldn't communicate it, OR she couldn't feel it. There could indeed be something askew with your pain receptors.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Upon further reflection, and since I understand it as out of the ordinary now, time to see good doctor, I think.
    +1

    As has already been stated, the pain due to arthritis etc. is different from the pain due to dislocation/breakage of bones or hyper-extension or tear of muscles/maniscus. Whereas the first one is mostly due to the aging process and has no remedy, the second one is a medical condition which must be attended too. Trying to focus the mind away from this kind of pain will result in deeper trouble downstream.

    Congratulations EM, on reaching the 7000 mark for the number of posts.

    Pranam.

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    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    Namaste ji,

    First, thank you all so much for your replies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: Upon further reflection, and since I understand it as out of the ordinary now, time to see good doctor, I think. My mother, during her last years with Alzheimer's had an undiagnosed broken leg for a bit. Either she couldn't communicate it, OR she couldn't feel it. There could indeed be something askew with your pain receptors.
    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    As has already been stated, the pain due to arthritis etc. is different from the pain due to dislocation/breakage of bones or hyper-extension or tear of muscles/maniscus. Whereas the first one is mostly due to the aging process and has no remedy, the second one is a medical condition which must be attended too.
    Just to be clear, I did go to an emergency clinic regarding the injury. I certainly wouldn't go without having such an injury checked out medically.

    They did a cursory look and neuro exam. They found that while I had some understandable change of sensation in my pinky finger, in general my reflexes, ligaments and nerves seemed intact and not damaged, and sensation in general was normal. The imaging didn't show an obvious break, but showed some connective tissue damage that suggests a dislocation, but some of my range of motion and function suggests there could be more going on. I left with instructions to see a specialist if I don't see improvement in a week or if it gets worse.

    I also want to clarify that it was the event of injury itself didn't immediately hurt, it's not that I don't currently feel any pain at all. It mainly hurts when I try and turn my wrist or pick something up with that hand, like a mug, which is expected. Otherwise, it's not more than a dull ache. What surprised me was not having a flash of pain when the event happened - I have had similar injuries and this is counter to all prior experience. I was pushing a heavy object - incorrectly too, which lead to the injury - and was looking right at my wrist when it happened.

    I certainly feel it and know when I move the injury in a way counter to a healing, neutral position. But, the other thing that surprises me is that the chronic pain condition I have had for years is known to amplify pain, not deaden it. It is why I have spent so long cultivating natural strategies for pain control, to try and control the spiral.

    One of my colleagues who does some work with a neurology researcher sent me this after lunch today:
    https://www.painscience.com/articles/pain-is-weird.php

    He gave emphasis to this video, a TED talk, (all the rage around here lately), given by another neurologist.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwd-wLdIHjs#t=8s

    Incidentally, I have no trouble with needles (for shots or blood draws) because as long as I watch, I don't really feel it. Also, I am still feeling muscle soreness from exercise and general arthritis pain, most things haven't really changed they just bother me a lot less over the last year and a half.

    Since the doctor I saw yesterday thought that the nerve and reflex exam she did was normal, I am less worried about neurological issues. However, it is a good point that I shouldn't take this for granted. While I am curious if the extension of the meditation practices I have been doing in that time and my taking up yoga again for the first time in a long time has indeed helped to progress my pain control, and while as the neurologist in that video points out, if the brain is calm and sees no reason to panic and create a serious pain response - which pretty accurately describes where I was at mentally that day - it is a good point that perhaps I should still follow up on this. I will bring it up to my primary care physician when I see her in a month, and in the meantime I will keep an eye out for other events that might make me wish to push that appointment up to a nearer date.

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Crux of the matter is that when awareness is within itself, it has more power within its own nature than the feelings of the body, bodily sensations while never absent are less apparent because one is abiding naturally in more natural states, and within this state of awareness the body will heal by itself, not once did I feel I had to take medicine or go and see a doctor, I was in pain but at the same time I was in a strong state of self awareness.
    I had a similar experience once, years ago, with a fractured sternum from a car accident. I was under medical treatment, and at the time was regularly doing strong energy meditation with Qigong. With injuries to the area around ribs, clavicle or sternum it becomes difficult to laugh, cough, yawn, stretch, turn full range, it's a real problem. But I kept up the classes and did my best and then one day a flash of indescribable energy jolted through me from the base of my spine through the top of my head, and dropped me to the floor in a pile of hysterical laughter. No more range of motion pain, just an ache. A couple of weeks later, at a check in with the doctor, they decided the original films had to have a defect as they couldn't explain how I had healed so well so fast. Not that I was completely healed or nothing ached, but it was much farther along than it should have been at that time. Sadly, I was freaked out enough that I dropped the class soon after.

    ~Pranam

    PS: My congrats as well for the round post count, EM ji.
    ~~~~~
    What has Learning profited a man, if it has not led him to worship the good feet of Him who is pure knowledge itself?
    They alone dispel the mind's distress, who take refuge at the feet of the incomparable one.
    ~~Tirukural 2, 7

    Anbe Sivamayam, Satyame Parasivam

  10. #10

    Re: Effects of Meditation for Pain Control

    That BP thing happens to me too! It's funny how you can keep the mind under control...but if your body is in pain...the whole thing will freak out on its own without the mind helping out.

    I have two crushed disc, in the bottom of my spine, they have impinged the sciatic nerve. Lord, the pain is unbearable at times...and sitting...while you would think that would be best...is actually the worst thing and the worst pain.

    I can remove my attention from it, do all sorts of things and survive. But, the body, the BP always rise and react.

    One time, I was at home with my physical therapist and he took my BP, it was 188/100 and I was smiling and chatting like normal.
    He said, "I don't mean to be rude, but I have been noticing something. After our therapy you have such high blood pressure...it's really bad. Am I hurting you?"

    I sat for a second and said. "I don't know if you are hurting this body... but you certainly aren't hurting me."

    Because that was the truth, the body malfunctions...and I ignored it completely. He was hurting this body, badly.
    I had to stop therapy about a month later. It wasn't helping and was actually hurting the situation.

    So I can say, yes this is something which must be very common with folks like us deep dwellers.
    But, remember, that though we can not feel it...it's still there and can become worse.

    I have had this condition for over 10 years, and as it has deteriorated... other things have began to suffer entropy as a side effect.

    Very good advice to see a doctor every now and then... they will always be able to notice those changes, even when you can not.

    Hugs <3

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