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  • Mike Murray 2:02 am on August 28, 2015 Permalink |  

    Mindfulness Relieves Back Pain 

    Mindful Healing
    Mindfulness Relieves Back Pain
    Is It Really Possible To Find Relief That Lasts?

    People often find it hard to believe that Guided Mindfulness can actually help them diminish or eliminate their pain. Over and over again people tell me they are really surprised to find that “this stuff really works”.

    I’ve been conducting seminars and classes in Mindfulness Meditation, for about the last eight or nine years. I’m constantly amazed at how people experience the effects of Mindfulness training, from changes in emotional trauma to relief from asthma to relieving the pain of knee surgery, and many chronic pains, like Arthritis and low back pain.

    And it’s not just students and clients who report psychological and physical relief and improvement; I have myself experienced the wonderful benefits of meditation. I regularly wake up in the middle of the night and feel fully awake. I even wonder, at such times, if it’s time to get up, only to find that it’s just three o’clock in the morning. I used to struggle to get back to sleep, making matters worse by increasing my frustration. Now I just accept that I am awake, take a few deep breaths, relax, and allow myself to drift back to sleep. Sometimes I feel tired in the morning after I get up, but ten minutes of Mindfulness Meditation wakes me up and refreshes my energy.

    I could relate other instances where I reduced or eliminated my own physical pain. Guided Mindfulness interventions are not cures, but they do reduce pain and improve function, and they are important components in the treatment of people with chronic pain,

    Guided Mindfulness Meditation will enable you to:
    • Reduce your suffering
    • Cope with pain, illness and stress
    • Experience deep and lasting peace                                                                                                                                                                        •Enjoy living your life again

    Reducing The Suffering Of Pain. Many chronic pain disorders are frustratingly resistant to treatments aimed at eliminating how your senses experience pain. You can reduce your suffering by altering how you react emotionally and how you evaluate your pain. Mindfulness aims to focus your attention on present experiences and reduce how you evaluate and react emotionally, which make them really effective for this task.

    Several studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of mindfulness-based interventions for both chronic and acute pain. Most of these have demonstrated effects of mindfulness on the affective and evaluative components of pain (McCracken et al., 2007; Morone et al., 2008; Perlman et al., 2010)”

    From Does Meditation Reduce Pain through a Unique Neural Mechanism? Tim V. Salomons1 and Aaron Kucyi1,2 Division of Brain, Imaging and Behaviour—Systems Neuroscience, Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8, and 2Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A8 Review of Zeidan et a

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  • Mike Murray 10:43 pm on July 30, 2014 Permalink |  

    Is It Really Possible That Mindfulness Meditation Can Relieve Chronic Pain? 

    Let me start by summarizing what research tells us about acute and chronic pain and it’s treatment.

    A couple of years ago I attended a lecture given by Dr. Dan Clauw, of the University of Michigan. I was intrigued by the title of his lecture, Pain; Is It All In Your Head? We all know how angry it makes us when somebody, not knowing what else to say to our complaints, says “Have you considered, this might be all in your head”.

    Is this what Dr. Clauw was suggesting? I suspected the title was meant as irony, to peak our interest.

    I was right, but not in the way I expected. Dr. Clauw pointed out that, in one sense, pain is indeed in our head. There’s a part of our brain that senses injury in remote parts of our body and alerts us to do something about it. Nothing quite gets our attention the way pain does. Pain is really good at taking care of us so we avoid doing more damage to ourselves.

    When something happens that hurts us, like inadvertently touching a hot burner on the stove, we might feel a lot of pain, but, when we put some salve on it, it subsides, and we learn to be more careful.

    The pain, in this case, is acute pain. We treat it; it’s usually OK in a day or two. If you break a bone, it will take longer, but it usually heals so it’s no longer a problem.

    What’s more troublesome is chronic pain. The pain that may come with arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia or knee or hip replacement and other chronic conditions, just doesn’t go away, and, for some of us, it can make life pretty miserable. Witness the commercials on TV for pain drugs that can alleviate your pain. Many sufferers praised the soothing effects of Vioxx before it was taken off the market.

    Practically any pain medication can have serious side effects, even, in some cases, can also cause death. Even Tylenol, perhaps the mildest of them all, has to be used carefully to avoid overdosing.

    The pain center in our brain also regulates the volume of our sensation of pain. Have you ever noticed how sensitive some people are to pain, while others seem to be able to endure a lot more pain and the cause of the pain might be the same for either person?

    The brain is like a thermostat. Dr, Clauw told us how, for some people, the thermostat is turned really high and, for others, it’s turned way down. Somebody suffering from fibromyalgia might wince if you just touch them very lightly, while somebody else might have serious deterioration of their spine and be hardly aware of it.

    I’m a good example of the latter condition. I was diagnosed, several years ago, with spinal stenosis. Up to this point I’m happy to say, I haven’t experienced any discomfort from this. One man I spoke with in the doctor’s office told me he had spinal stenosis and it bothered him a lot,so much, he had trouble getting a decent night’s sleep.

    What I liked, especially, was when Dr. Clauw talked about ways we can adjust the thermostat in our pain center, so we can have more control and less suffering.

    He strongly advocates exercise and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). He didn’t come right out and suggest using medical marijuana, but he might be more open about it today. He also recommended Mindfulness Meditation.The medical community is not so willing to acknowledge the use of Mindfulness in the treatment of chronic disease and for alleviating pain, but that is changing.

  • Mike Murray 5:15 pm on July 14, 2014 Permalink |  

    A Different Kind of Pain Medicine 

    I read a report, many years ago, of something they tried at McGill University, to alleviate severe pain in terminally ill cancer patients. They gave the patients LSD. LSD is an hallucinogenic substance that can alter our perceptions. How did the McGill patients respond to the treatment? How did it affect the pain they were experiencing? I’m not sure what the results were over the long term but the general experience seemed to be “The pain is still there, but now it’s more of an interesting sensation”.

    I thought of this experiment, a few years ago, when I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible, pulsating toothache. I suppose I could have gotten up and gone to the emergency room at the local hospital. But I wanted fast relief from the awful pain. I recalled what I had read, years before, about the McGill patients and I wondered if I could duplicate the experience, but without the LSD. I had learned a lot about stress reduction and relaxation. Could I use this knowledge to alter my reaction to the pain?

    I started out by taking some deep breaths to relax myself. At the same time, starting with my toes, I began to scan my body, at each part asking myself “do my toes hurt?” and so on, through my whole body. I found myself relaxing more deeply as I went along. Finally, I pinpointed the exact location of the pain, this small portion of my jaw. Ninety nine point nine percent of my body was totally free from pain.

    When I experienced this, I was relieved and thankful that now the toothache became nothing more than “an interesting sensation”. I felt relaxed and comfortable. I drifted back into a deep sleep. When I woke that morning, the pain was gone and I called and made an appointment with the dentist.

    I’m not a scientist, so I would hardly consider my story proof that my method is good for everybody, or anybody else beside myself, though I have occasionally seen references to similar experiences by other people. I know that both cannabis and LSD are being used quite a lot in treating chronic pain. These drugs produce two changes. They change how people perceive the severity of their. pain and they consequently change people’s mood so their pain doesn’t bother them as much and allows them to enjoy their daily lives. I’ve seen one elderly lady laughing as she’s telling a funny story, occasionally wincing as she shifted in her chair.

    Have you had any experiences like this, or, do you know anybody who has. If you have, please post your story on here.

  • Mike Murray 3:31 pm on July 8, 2014 Permalink |  

    Mindfulness is Spiritual Healing 

    Spiritual Healing is not religious. It has excellent potential for healing everyday problems – stress, pain,unhappiness, growing older, loss, chronic illness, guilt, anxiety, anger, depression, dying and grieving.
    It has also been demonstated to increase happiness, wellness, wellbeing, aging well, improving the mind, simplifying life“The facts of our lives are not as important as our attitudes toward them” Victor Frankl
    Mindfulness practice will enable you to find the way to your heart, come into rhythm with yourself, sense the mystery and magic of your self, recapture your own life afresh, from within, examine your life within its larger contexts of value and purpose, discover an order and a familiarity, which deepens with time, probe and light those secret, unmet aspirations, and dreams that have been packed away in the shadows, make space for new growth, seek out what shaped your path, what you might be hiding from, what you have lost along the way.
    How does Mindfulness work?
    At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Richard Davidson has used brain imaging to show that meditation shifts activity in the prefrontal cortex (right behind our foreheads) from the right hemisphere to the left. Davidson’s research suggests that by meditating regularly, the brain is reoriented from a stressful fight‐or‐flight mode to one of acceptance, a shift that increases contentment.
    People who have a negative disposition tend to be right‐prefrontal oriented; left-prefrontals have more enthusiasms, more interests, relax more and tend to be happier, though perhaps with less real estate.
  • Mike Murray 1:35 am on July 8, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags: Chronic Pain, Heal Pain, Mindfulness and Pain Pain Control, Pain and Depression, Pain Control, Pain Relief, Pain Treatment, Resilience, Wellbeing, Wellness   

    Relief For Low Back Pain 

    I had lunch today with my son John. We were talking about ways I could get my message out to people. John suggested I start blogging, “I already have a blog” I said, “but the only comments I get are from spammers trying to sell me Michael Kors tasseled handbags”. “you have to start letting the people you know know about your blog”, said John. That’s just common sense, I guess.

    So here I am, letting you know. I’m hoping you’ll remember me from our Mindfulness classes over the past six years or so.. You’ll probably have noticed how the word “Mindfulness” has been popping up more and more in the media over these few years. They even have a magazine now called Mindful.

    That brings me to my message. I’m a healer. What does that mean? My job is to help people to heal themselves. I teach and assist people to relieve lower back pain so they can continue to live a full life.

    I want to get this message out to as many people as I can. Low back pain, according to some statistics, is the most common pain, and can be truly crippling. I have spent many days on my back, waiting to get some kind of relief from my severe pain. I used to wonder what my chances were that I could hobble across an intersection before the traffic light changed. Chiropracty provided some relief. I tried acupuncture but that actually made things worse. My only comfort was the acupuncturist didn’t charge me for the treatment.

    All that happened during my late thirties. I don’t remember how I started to hurt. I was about forty two when I started to practice Zen Meditation and self-hypnosis, both of which played a big part in my recovery, I also learned some simple yoga exercises. Almost immediately, I started running upstairs again and started jogging. There was no more of the crippling misery I had endured for three or four years. I’m in my eighties now and still free, although i still have to work out some kinks during my morning mindfulness practice.

    Over the years I’ve studied how Yoga and Mindfulness relieve pain, especially low back pain. there’s solid scientific evidence to support it’s effectiveness. I’m going to say a lot more about this in future blogs.I’m looking forward to hearing your story, if not about you personally, then about somebody you know.

  • Mike Murray 11:22 pm on July 7, 2014 Permalink |  

    Mindfulness Works As The Brain’s “Volume Knob” 

    Ever wondered why mindfulness meditation can make you feel more focused and zen? It’s because it helps the brain to have better control over processing pain and emotions, specifically through the control of cortical alpha rhythms (which play a role in what senses our minds are attentive to), according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

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