3 Pain Meditation Techniques To Relieve Your Aches [With Scripts]

meditation for pain relief

If you suffer from headaches, migraines or other pains, there’s good news: you can use pain meditation techniques for relief. The scripts below will help you to get started.

In an article medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD, R.N., CRNA, Adam Felman explains that “People feel pain when a signal travels through nerve fibres to the brain for interpretation.” [1]. When part of the body is damaged, communication is sent to the brain and the brain responds by producing the sensation of pain. This sensation may be different in different people because of the efficiency of the communication between the nociceptors and the brain.

Meditation helps with pain because activates and reinforces brain areas that process pain. In turn, this reduces the intensity of pain. A Wake Forest University study showed that meditation reduces pain by up to 40% (based on perceived pain).

Cleveland Clinic states that “Meditation shifts your focus to something quiet and calm, reducing inflammation and pain.”

During some meditation techniques, pain decreases significantly. I have personally experienced this for myself several times. For instance, when I have a migraine, I will meditate on my breath and the relaxation will help me to feel better.

Here are the best pain meditation techniques. 

3 Pain Meditation Techniques To Relieve Your Aches [with scripts]

Let’s look at some of the best pain meditation techniques for headaches, migraines and other pains.

1: Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is essentially the practice of focusing the mind on the present moment in a nonjudgmental way [READ: Mindfulness for beginners]

In one study, participants were subjected to hot temperatures and tested to see how they responded to the pain. The study revealed that people who practice mindfulness meditation react to pain less than those who do not.

There is a reason for this. Most of the time, when we experience pain, we dwell on it. The mind sinks into the feeling of pain and the symptoms amplify. When we are mindful, we simply observe the pain nonjudgmentally. In turn, this helps us to accept the discomfort and not to dwell on it.

2: MBSR Meditation for Headaches

A report in Psychosomatic Medicine magazine revealed people who meditate rarely get headaches. 

Scientific research suggests we can use Mind-body techniques, including mindfulness, for headaches, migraines, and other pains. One of the best pain meditation techniques is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program designed by Jon Kabat Zinn.

Kabat Zinn’s studies reveal that individuals who practise Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction have 1.4 fewer migraines per month than the average individual. Plus, headaches and migraines are less intense in meditators.   

When we perform Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, we nonjudgmentally accept the pain we are experiencing. The aim is to perceive the pain precisely as it is: as pure energy. This reduces suffering, relieves stress, and reduces the psychosomatic aspects of pain. 

Arthritis And Muscular Discomfort

If you suffer from muscular pains, there’s good news: Taoist meditations help.

Taoist meditations are all about self-acceptance and harmony. They are designed to cultivate the flow of chi (prana) around the body.

Especially useful for muscular pains and arthritis are tai chi and Qigong. These are slow movement meditations that improve coordination and help to reduce inflammation.

The Science of Pain Meditation Techniques

There are significant benefits of meditation for pain relief. 

Pain is mostly in the mind. The feeling of pain is generated by the brain, which interprets electrical signals sent from the body. There have been cases of people having intense pain even though there is nothing wrong with them. And there have been cases of serious trauma for which the sufferer did not feel pain. Both of these are examples of pain being created or ignored by the mind.

Controlling the mind helps reduce physical discomfort.  Hence why meditation helps with pain management.  

Placebos

Pain affects you both physically and mentally. Even a type of pain that seems wholly physical (like a broken arm) will have psychological manifestations. That is precisely why placebos work.

In World War II, Dr Harry Beescher was treating soldiers for wounds. One day he ran out of morphine, so he switched to a saline solution. It was a switch that should have been obvious. Saline solution should not possibly be as effective as morphine. Otherwise, why would doctors in hospitals give you morphine when you’re in discomfort…?

But 40% of the soldiers that Dr Beescher treated said they didn’t feel the pain afterwards. [1] The salt was a placebo.

A placebo is when you are healed simply because you think you are being healed.

If, for instance, your mother tells you that chicken soup will get rid of your cold and it works, it has worked because you believed it would (because chicken soup does nothing for a cold).

Science has proven that placebos are as effective as medication. What matters when you are medicated is that you believe you are being healed.

This is how we know that pain is mostly in the mind. And because pain is in the mind, we can use meditation for pain relief. Migraines. Headaches. Shingles. Back pain. Meditation works for all of them. 

How Pain Meditation Techniques Work

Pain is made worse by negative emotions. 

Physical pain is the direct results of what is happening in the subconscious mind.

In the 1960s, Russian scientists discovered that every thought and every feeling produces chemical responses in the body. Thoughts and feeling cause chemicals called neuropeptides to be released.

Biologist Candace Pert learned that cells produce hundreds of neuropeptides, including endorphins, cortisol, hormones and adrenalin. Different emotions produce different frequencies that cause different neuropeptides to be released. [2]

Prolonged negative emotions will cause an overabundance of stress hormones, which will damage the body. This is why experiencing a wide range of happy emotions helps reduce pain and inflammation.

Physical pain is caused by emotional suffering. And that means that emotional healing can cure physical discomfort.

Kathleen Oheeny [6] says, “both negative and positive affective states play a role in pain… [For instance], sadness may worsen the pain experience and influence cortical activity.”.

If you have mood swings or continual negative emotions, you can turn negative emotions to positive emotions, which in turn will reduce pain and inflammation and help with headaches, migraines, sore muscles, and other issues.

One of the best ways to heal emotional pain is by meditating. When you meditate, you silence the mind and give your mind a chance to heal itself. This cures emotional suffering and in turn, alleviates physical discomfort. This is why meditation has been proven to help with pain relief.

Essentially, the healing powers of meditation start from the mind and extend to the body. This is perhaps why meditation can even help relieve discomfort for cancer patients.

When we use meditation for pain relief, we balance our emotions, and this reduces the psychosomatic factors.

 Conclusion

The world is finally awakening to the power of the mind. And with the combined strength of science and spirituality, we are learning that there are natural remedies for pain relief. 

In 100 years, we will all wonder why we ever used medication when nature has a cure. For now, the enlightened among us can find relief by using pain meditation techniques. 

SOURCES

1: What is pain, and how do you treat it?, by Deborah Weatherspoon & Adam Felman, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145750

2: The Effects of Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training on Experimentally Induced Pain, Fadel Zeidan, Nakia S. Gordon, Junaid Merchant, and Paula Goolkasian, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte  http://www.psych.uncc.edu/pagoolka/seminar/jofpain2009.pdf

3: How You Can Ease Your Aches and Pain With Meditation,  https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-you-can-ease-your-aches-and-pain-with-meditation/

4: Antidote to pain and negativity? Let it be, Bill Hathaway, Yale, https://news.yale.edu/2020/02/19/antidote-pain-and-negativity-let-it-be

5: Effect of Different Meditation Types on Migraine Headache Medication Use, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4600642/

6: The Interactions of Emotions and Chronic Pain,  Kathleen Doheny, Afton Hassett, PsyD, and Burel Goodin, PhD https://www.practicalpainmanagement.com/meeting-summary/interactions-emotions-chronic-pain

7: Overprescribing of opioids is not limited to a few bad apples, Stafford University, https://biox.stanford.edu/highlight/overprescribing-opioids-not-limited-few-bad-apples

Share This:

By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.