Midnfulness and Pain

Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 12:03 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 12:03 PM

Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Can anybody recommend a book or website for teaching people to use mindfulness in the management of pain? Thanks!
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tom moylan, modified 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 1:00 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 1:00 PM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

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The king of using mindfulness in this specific and limited way is Jon Kabat-Zinn and his website can be found here.
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Bailey , modified 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 1:58 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 1:57 PM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 267 Join Date: 7/14/11 Recent Posts
Here's a trick.

Try putting your awareness on the location of the pain on your body. At first the pain will heighten but be gentle and keep watching it. Do this maybe a couple minutes each day and see if anything improves. It is not uncommon to find a correlation between these locations and mental issues. Doing this may help the mental issues to come out and heal the pain.

I should add that this method is essentialy Goenka's body sensation meditation.
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 2:12 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/17/13 2:12 PM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Thanks, that seems to be the general consensus. I was a bit leery of him just because hard-core yogis seem leery. But people with chronic pain that doesn't respond to anything are just like dark night yogis. If they don't learn to separate physical pain from misery, their life is hell. I will pass this along.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 10 Years ago at 5/18/13 2:15 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/18/13 2:15 PM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

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All this advice reads great but I doubt it works in reality. I suffer from permanent headache all the time in the same place for nearly 15 years as a result of past neuroinfection. If the pain is 10/10 it is impossible for me to meditate, only pharmacology is of help. But yes if the pain is not extreme, meditation helps me sometimes to completely "dissolve" the pain usually after about an hour. I never concentrate on the pain- I would go mad emoticon - but on the sensation of breath in the nostrils. But I am not so experienced meditator. I believe that there are more advanced yogis who can handle even the 10/10 pain.
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Martin Sokolski, modified 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 4:19 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 4:19 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 21 Join Date: 10/20/12 Recent Posts
"Living Well With Pain And Illness: Using mindfulness to free yourself from suffering: The Mindful Way to Free Yourself from Suffering" by Vidyamala Burch

'I admire Vidyamala Burch tremendously. Her approach could save your life - and give it back to you' - Jon Kabat-Zinn

at amazon.com

at the UK amazon.co.uk
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 8:32 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 8:30 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Hi Alesh,

I don't think the idea is to dissolve the pain, but to give people a means of overcoming despair and misery - pretty much the same idea with meditation generally. The natural feeling for many people with chronic pain is that happiness or even willingness to live is dependent on a solution for physical pain, which may not be forthcoming. I think meditation can help change that perspective.

The Blessed One said, "When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, were to shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pains of two arrows; in the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two pains, physical & mental....

"Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when touched with a feeling of pain, does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. So he feels one pain: physical, but not mental. Just as if they were to shoot a man with an arrow and, right afterward, did not shoot him with another one, so that he would feel the pain of only one arrow. In the same way, when touched with a feeling of pain, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, does not beat his breast or become distraught. He feels one pain: physical, but not mental.


Yet there is evidence that meditation can actually reduce pain:

Here Kelly McGonigal shares some MRI studies that demonstrate how this works (7 minutes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ2dK18--ic
Basically, experienced meditators have higher pain thresholds.

This is a review of studies of the effects of meditation on pain, showing that there are specific effects - i.e. not just placebo - of meditation on pain processing. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/36/12705

So, it seems to me some kind of meditation is an important option that should at least be presented to people with chronic pain.
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 8:31 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 8:31 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Martin Sokolski:
"Living Well With Pain And Illness: Using mindfulness to free yourself from suffering: The Mindful Way to Free Yourself from Suffering" by Vidyamala Burch

'I admire Vidyamala Burch tremendously. Her approach could save your life - and give it back to you' - Jon Kabat-Zinn

at amazon.com

at the UK amazon.co.uk


Thanks, Martin. I will check those out.
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fivebells , modified 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 11:04 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/19/13 11:04 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

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charon, modified 10 Years ago at 5/20/13 2:49 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/20/13 2:49 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 36 Join Date: 11/24/10 Recent Posts
Here are two books I’ve had some benefit from:

Shinzen Young, Break Through Pain. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Break-Through-Pain-Step-Step/dp/1458785238

Kelly McGonigal, yoga for pain relief. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Yoga-Pain-Relief-Practices-Whole-Body/dp/1572246898/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369035917&sr=8-1&keywords=yoga+for+pain+relief

Mcgonigal’s book also has a chapter or two discussing the latest studies of pain management which is both informative and encouraging.

Hope you find something that helps.
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 5/20/13 5:37 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/20/13 5:37 PM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Thanks, Paul. I actually used to own a copy of Break Through Pain long before I was aware of Shinzen Young as a teacher. I think someone wandered away with it. Just ordered a replacement copy.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 10 Years ago at 5/21/13 8:32 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/21/13 8:32 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 130 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
Daniel writes in MCTB: "...This book and the path presented in it are not for the damaged and unstable spiritual seeker..."

And it is the problem. If you have damaged brain (with pain and some other deficits as a result) meditation needs not help you however hard you try. It was a sad discovery for me when I fell ill 15 years ago and no meditation could help me because the "organ of meditation", the brain, was affected. The Christians have a hope for an "after-life pension", buddhists for a good incarnation. emoticon
Some Guy, modified 10 Years ago at 5/21/13 9:54 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/21/13 9:54 AM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Alesh Vyhnal:
Daniel writes in MCTB: "...This book and the path presented in it are not for the damaged and unstable spiritual seeker..."

And it is the problem. If you have damaged brain (with pain and some other deficits as a result) meditation needs not help you however hard you try. It was a sad discovery for me when I fell ill 15 years ago and no meditation could help me because the "organ of meditation", the brain, was affected. The Christians have a hope for an "after-life pension", buddhists for a good incarnation. emoticon


I understand that it wasn't helpful for you. That sucks. Nothing works for everyone. But as for pain generally, the research is pretty clear. I wouldn't recommend MCTB in this context, hence the original question at the top of the thread.

BTW, the idea that Buddhism supports you in waiting for a better incarnation is not correct, far as I know (although many people may look at it that way). I'm sure the right teacher or experienced practitioner could help you find a practice that would help you - not necessarily with your injury or physical pain, but in the usual way that Buddhist practice does help.
Tom M A, modified 10 Years ago at 5/21/13 6:10 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 5/21/13 6:10 PM

RE: Midnfulness and Pain

Posts: 67 Join Date: 8/22/12 Recent Posts
Depends what type of pain it is. So much has a physical cause. I used to suffer extreme lower back pain and a guy online told me to feel it without fear. I used to always anticipate the worst when I felt even the slightest twinge. Obviously I could not do anything when it was full blown, but I learned to watch it and then one day it just dawned on me, I was a physical wreck. I had a long history of bad eating, bad sleeping, too many drugs, too much beer. I just knew that I had to get hemp seeds, sit in the sun and drink, but only water. I also knew I had to quit all dairy products. It all came as a vision in the centre of my forehead. I saw the weed growing and then the seeds were popping and I was catching them in my mouth. I saw myself sitting in the sun, drinking gallons of water while refusing milk, cheese and chocolate and then going to bed real early and getting up early too!

Since undertaking that path, no pain. And it's been like that for years now. I recently read that scientists have discovered that lower back pain is mainly caused by bacteria and antibiotics should work wonders for most sufferers. That maybe, but the outcome of that passive watching regime freed me and taught me how to cure the problem. The trick is not to look for an answer, just too look to understand the problem.

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