Sunday, 13 October 2013

Using the mind to combat pain

Pain is essential to life.  It tells us when we have something wrong in our body, we treat it or avoid extra damage occurring.  It could be as simple as relieving pressure when you have been sitting down for too long in the same position to extreme pain from a fractured bone.  Without pain we would not feel the warning signs that could save our lives, like the itch or burning sensation from an insect bite that could cause septicaemia or gangrene.  But there comes a time where pain becomes chronic and feeling such pain affects daily life and thus has no use.

Since I started puberty at the age of 11 I started experiencing back pain.  My parents and doctors put it down to growth spurts, an unsuitable mattress and my school bag being too heavy.  After making changes to help my back my pain persisted, getting worse in fact.  When I was 13 I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a side-to-side curvature to the spine.  It caused a lot of pain as muscles were being pulled by my spine.  It was not until I was 16 that the pain reduced, but now that I am 22 I still get persistent pain, especially if I stand for too long.  Obviously, I tried many methods to relieve the pain, from over the counter and prescribed pain killers to using a TENS machine to block the pain signals.  But they wouldn’t always work and if they did the relief was only temporary, so I tried my own method.

Whether it is anxiety, depression or pain we have the ability to control our mind to combat it.  People have been known to use their minds to block pain signals, either to reduce the pain or eliminate it all together.  There are different methods used by different people, but I will share my method to you.  It’s hard to do over the internet, so I will do it step-by-step.

1.       Travel to the source of the pain:
Close your eyes.  Travel your vision from your eyes to the source of pain.  Imagine your vision, as it travels, being accompanied by energy.  If you have a pain in your knee imagine your vision travelling from your eyes, down your neck, into the torso, to your groin, down your thigh and ending at the knee.  Now see the pain as a raging flame.

2.       Embrace the pain:
Imagine this energy having arms.  Wrap these arms over the pain and embrace it tightly.  Instead of the flames burning the arms they are containing the flames within them.

3.       Douse the flames:
As the arms contain the flame imagine the flame slowly fading.  As the arms slowly wrap closer and tighter imagine the flame slowly dying, gradually becoming smaller.  The once ravage flames shrink as small as a candle light.

I will tell you the truth; this method is not easy and does take practise.  Try practising it at home or on your way to work on the bus.  You can use this method for depression and anxiety too, visualise the pain in your stomach, chest, heart or mind, wherever you feel the pain, as a flame, or whatever personification suits you best.  As you master this technique you will be able to take control.

*This was originally posted on my old WordPress blog*

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