Resource: Guided Meditations for Alternative Pain Relief

This post contains audio and video Guided Meditations that may relieve the intensity of your physical pain. If you’re not satisfied with other forms of pain relief it’s definitely worth a go. 

Of all the symptoms spoonies face, pain seems to be the one that is most amenable to relief from techniques such as meditation. This is because, however objective the physical cause of pain, there is always a subjective element to the brain’s perception of pain. My understanding is that this is related to the limbic involvement in pain (emotional reaction is intrinsically built into pain processes). It is very tricky to explain all this succinctly and this activity is causing me a headache (for a detailed explanation see this link about the Neurophysiology of pain). Probably the relevant point (for the purposes of this post) is that pain perception is influenced by messages moving up from the site of injury/inflammation to the brain AND from descending inhibitory effects from the brain to the site of injury/inflammation.

“It is thought that the descending inhibition system is designed to allow an individual to partially or completely ignore noxious stimuli, for example to allow the individual to run away from immediate danger, and, if an animal has survived an immediate danger, to allow it to undertake other activities important for survival, such as finding food, rather than responding further to pain.” (Neurophysiology and B322.2.w2)

This is interesting to us for two opposing reasons. Firstly, we can utilise psychological tools to turn down our perception of pain when it is becoming unbearable. Secondly, we can remember to ‘tune in’ to our bodies to check whether we are ignoring pain signals which are trying to say something useful, like pointing out the need to rest (see this post which talks about becoming more aware of pain during my first experience of mindfulness). Even if you find meditation doesn’t reduce your experience of pain it can improve feelings of control over pain.

You may find this explanation more accessible:

 

Guided Meditations

In my opinion, different forms of meditation suit different people. I’ve tried to provide some varied resources below that may help you. If you try something and it does nothing for you just move onto the next meditation next time. Also, there is no need to try them all if the first one works well.

Insight Meditation

You may find this Audio Dharma page on pain generally useful. No Buddhist beliefs are required to benefit from it (just an experience of pain!). It is OK to meditate lying down even if the instructions suggest an ‘alert posture’. I was particularly surprised at how effective this meditation was for specific pain:

 Download Local Intensity through this link or stream below (25 mins, music offº) 

wellness required: ability to maintain meditative concentration during silences

And that this one was good for general myalgia:

 Download Free Floating in the Discomfort through this link or stream below (25 mins, music offº) 

wellness required: ability to maintain meditative concentration during silences

This one may give you some interesting insights into your emotional response to all that horrible pain:

 Download Emotional Reactions through this link or stream below (25 mins, music offº) 

wellness required: ability to maintain meditative concentration during silences

Yoga Nidra

I find Yoga Nidra much easier than the style of meditation above. You can read my review explaining what it is here. If you find one version too weird try another because the scripts are different and vary in their Woo-hoo factor. It generally helps my experience of pain but this version is specifically aimed at pain:

 Download Yoga Nidra for Pain through this link or stream below (21 mins, music offº) 

wellness required: ability to listen to instructions while lying still

Moving Meditation

Depending on your personality and physical ability you may well prefer gentle moving meditations. I suggest watching the videos before doing it for the first time – it will require less cognitive energy when you come to do it and you can suss out whether the physical activity will be too much for you. Don’t expect to do these moving meditations perfectly first time, it is like learning a complex dance.

I don’t think these should feel like exercise, and if you’re well enough to do them there shouldn’t be any increased pain or payback. Ask the person who knows the most about your health if you are unsure.

This one is seated T’ai Chi and good for pain and gentle movement:

wellness required: ability to concentrate on gentle movement while sitting upright

This is seated Qi Gong, something I’m new to but it seems gentle:

8 Brokate sitzend (Baduanjin), 8 brocades sitting

wellness required: ability to sit relatively still in a cross legged position and copy movement without instruction. I found the relative lack of movement increased my backache and the continuously moving style of seated T’ai Chi is better for me. Listen to your body.

This next version of seated Qigong is sitting upright in a chair and involves more movement and instructions:

Wellness required: ability to do fairly rapid seated movement. I found this helpful for Pain, but it’s on the edge of what I can cope with fatigue wise.

If you can tolerate standing movement you might like this standing T’ai Chi:

Simplified Tai Chi 24 form (YMAA Taijiquan) Yang:

Wellness required: ability to do continuous, standing movement and learn movement similar to a dance routine. I can’t do this at the moment although in the past I attempted a class and mixed up standing and sitting (due to Orthostatic intolerance).

Playlist

This YouTube playlist includes some other examples I collated while researching this post:

Pain meditation:

If this post was helpful for you, have a look at Free Stuff. Let me know if you have other meditation links to share (add as a comment). 

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6 thoughts on “Resource: Guided Meditations for Alternative Pain Relief

  1. Great post! Have you received my e mail with a short piece called “living with illness” ? I wasn’t sure how to get it to you. Maybe the email address was out of date. I couldn’t find any contact details on this site. Xx

    Like

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