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A Balanced Life: Managing Pain

When we experience pain, professionals often recommend that you 'track' your pain level on the typical 0-10 scale, with 10 being excruciating pain. I have found that tracking my pain level is helpful in assessing whether there is a pattern, which can help with identifying triggers. However, 'tracking' has never really changed the pain at all, nor how I manage it. Recently it came to me that pain levels help you to see and follow, how much it hurts, and I realized I was not paying enough attention to what was occurring throughout my body, as pain intensified. For migraine I reviewed what happened with my muscles, joints, and senses. A few hours before the experience of a full migraine episode, I notice something 'off' with my vision, hearing (tinnitus often pumps up the volume as pain increases), I know it's coming, release of cortisol, muscles tense around shoulders, neck, face and head, and temples throb - then I'm in it! Then this thought came; you know how to relax the muscles in your body, release tension in joints and pump up the flow of oxytocin, reducing the flow of cortisol, so...why don't you use those strategies more, as soon as the pain starts. Since adding that increased "quiet practice meditation", I have found that I am experiencing less intense pain (5,6,7) and more frequent periods when the pain level drops below 5.

Unfortunately, the length of time I spend in below 5 pain, is measured in minutes and hours, not days and weeks. The "quiet meditation" practice is the foundation of psychological pain management and helps one to consider best alternative measures to treat the physical pain.

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