Mind Over Matter: Meditation for Pain
June 5, 2018

Mind Over Matter: Meditation for Pain

Pain is the brain’s response to trauma. Our nerve endings serve as an alert system that sends signals through the body, up to the brain when something is wrong. For example, when you get burned your brain reacts instantly, forcing your body away from the source of danger.

One of the most efficient defense mechanisms we have is the ability to feel pain. Through it, we learn to avoid things that will cause bodily harm.

When persistent pain becomes unmanageable, there are ways to make the suffering less intense. We just need to shift our focus away from it.

Anxiety Control through Guided Meditation

When you are hurt and in pain, your brain will eventually trigger healing and unpleasant feelings will be less overwhelming and easier to ignore.

Although, sometimes, it is not so easy to manage pain. Chronic health problems like arthritis and fibromyalgia can lead to persistent, debilitating pain. These conditions cause the messages between the nerves and the brain to be fired up continuously.

Research has determined that guided meditation for pain can alter the way we feel physical discomfort. Healing is accelerated as the mindset is improved through meditation. In addition, by using the gate control theory, you control your body and brain to shut down this messaging system with meditation.

What Is the Gate Control Theory?

The Gate Control Theory is the notion that the nerve signals to the brain indicating pain are shielded by a gate in the spinal cord to stop the pain. These warning signals are blocked from reaching the peak levels in the central nervous system.

The spinal cord serves as the body’s information superhighway. Signals are sent through the spinal cord to and from the body and brain.

This gate allows certain signals to pass through and shuts to prevent too many pain messages from reaching the brain. What is or isn’t allowed to pass is based on immediate importance. If incoming data is not prioritized, the brain can become overloaded with signals and immediate needs may not get met.

Using Gate Control to Manage Pain

Gate Control allows you to redirect your focus away from pain or the transfer of messages from the trauma site to the brain, so the perception of pain can be dissipated. On another note, if you are too consumed with pain, it can become more intense as the brain places the incoming signals in high priority.

This type of meditation is a pain management approach that takes the focus away from pain and places it on optimal health or some other positive theme.

Primarily, meditation halts the body’s response to stress which intensifies pain. There are many factors that stimulate the stress response which opens the gate and magnifies pain:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Life crises
  • Recollection of pain
  • Negative thoughts
  • Unrelated stress

Meditation allows you to manage the negative energies better that cause or intensify pain.

When you push through an undertaking that is mentally demanding, you can easily distract the mind. First, to complete all the required steps to finish a task, brain focus must be centered on the project at hand. All other signals will be pushed aside and addressed later, if at all. The pain you experience really is all in your head, and through meditation you can control how much it affects your life.