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Pain Relief and Relaxation Techniques

Updated on February 2, 2018
annerivendell profile image

Anne has a BSc in Applied Psychology and has qualifications in counselling CBT & mindfulness. She teaches mindfulness workshops and courses.

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Relaxation for pain relief

We know that stress can produce pain.

How many of us have experienced headaches or back and neck pain when we’re under stress? Relaxation can reduce stress and so relieve this pain, but what about pain from illness? Can relaxation techniques ease all pain?

Well, it seems to depend on the source of the pain and also on the individual concerned.

According to a study carried out on relaxation techniques involving several illnesses it was found that rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and some cancers showed better results than standard pain treatments However, it was found that relaxation techniques DID show a significant result when compared to no pain treatment1

Meditation for pain relief

So, if your standard pain relief is not working for you, or for some reason you cannot or are not willing to undergo standard pain relief, the video on the right is a guided meditation on pain management.

Or try the guided Mindfulness Meditation below.

I came across this article recently on Mindfulness and pain relief and it reports amazing results!

http://franticworld.com/can-mindfulness-meditation-really-reduce-pain-and-suffering-by-90-percent-this-three-week-course-shows-you-how-to-begin/

Alternatively, you can try the following relaxation techniques.

It will not cause any harm and will probably help.

Muscle tensing and relaxing

Choose a time and a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed for at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter where it is just so long as you feel safe.

Switch OFF your cell phone (if you put it on silent it can still interfere with other electronic equipment and cause a distraction)

Play some soft music if you want

Loosen any tight clothing

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Use pillows if necessary.

Note: You may be more likely to fall asleep if you lie down, particularly on a bed. However, if you cannot sit comfortably, then lying down is fine.

Keep a bottle of water nearby. (Meditating can make some people thirsty.)

Set a timer for 20 minutes

Close your eyes, or find a point to fix your gaze on, whichever makes you feel more comfortable

Tense the muscles around you jaw and close your teeth tight. Hold for 5 seconds and release.

Feel the muscles relax

Open your eyes wide, hold for 5 seconds and release.

Feel the muscles relax

Tense your neck as though you were about to move your head forward, but stop just before you

move, hold for 5 seconds and release.

Move through your body in this way, tensing…

Your shoulders

Your arms

Your wrists

Your hands

Your chest

Your stomach

Your buttocks

Arch you back slightly

Pull in your shoulders so as to tense your back

Tense your thighs

Your knees

The back of your legs

Your ankles

Your feet

Your toes

Feel your whole body relax.

Enjoy the feeling.

Count your breaths-in and out, slowly and naturally…in-1-out-in-2-out-in-3-out…

When your mind wanders (and everyone’s does, it’s natural) gently bring it back to counting your breath and enjoying the feeling of relaxation

When the timer goes off, very slowly and gently flex and release your fingers and toes, shrug your shoulders, move your neck from side to side

Open your eyes if they’ve been closed

If you’re sitting on a chair, slide to the edge and stand up slowly.

If you’re sitting on the floor, stand up whatever way is comfortable and easy for you, but do so slowly and gently.

If you’re lying on the floor, place your feet on the ground for 10 seconds. Stand up slowly and gently. Make sure you’re steady before walking.

If you’re lying on a bed or sofa, place your feet flat for 10 seconds. Then turn on your side and sit up. Swing both feet off the bed and stand up slowly and gently. Make sure you’re steady before walking.

It doesn't matter where you meditate just so long as you feel safe and secure
It doesn't matter where you meditate just so long as you feel safe and secure | Source

Breathing Mindfulness Meditation

Choose a time and a place where you are unlikely to be disturbed for at least 30 minutes. It doesn’t matter where it is just so long as you feel safe.

Switch OFF your cell phone (if you put it on silent it can still interfere with other electronic equipment and cause a distraction)

Play some soft music if you want

Loosen any tight clothing

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Use pillows if necessary.

Note: You may be more likely to fall asleep if you lie down, particularly on a bed. However, if you cannot sit comfortably, then lying down is fine.

Keep a bottle of water nearby. (Meditating can make some people thirsty.)

Set a timer for 20 minutes

Close your eyes, or find a point to fix your gaze on, whichever makes you feel more comfortable

Begin by taking a deep breath, filling your lungs to capacity.

Hold for 5 seconds

Slowly let it out

Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest

Take another deep breath

Notice whether your chest expands or your stomach expands

Hold for 5 seconds

Slowly let it out

Take another breath, this time consciously expanding your stomach

Hold for 5 seconds and slowly release

Do this 3 more times, then breathe normally

You may notice you stomach expanding with each breath, but don’t worry if not, this will come with practice.

Count your breaths…in-1-out-in-2-out-in-3-out…

When your mind wanders (and everyone’s does, it’s natural) gently bring it back to counting your breath and enjoying the feeling of relaxation.

Your body lives in present time, so counting your breath keeps you in present time and prevents you from worrying about the past or the future.


Continue until the timer goes off.

When the timer goes off, very slowly and gently flex and release your fingers and toes, shrug your shoulders, move your neck from side to side

Open your eyes if they’ve been closed

If you’re sitting on a chair, slide to the edge and stand up slowly.

If you’re sitting on the floor, stand up whatever way is comfortable and easy for you, but do so slowly and gently.

If you’re lying on the floor, place your feet on the ground for 10 seconds. Stand up slowly and gently. Make sure you’re steady before walking.

If you’re lying on a bed or a sofa, place your feet flat for 10 seconds. Then turn on your side and sit up. Swing both feet off the bed and stand up slowly and gently. Make sure you’re steady before walking.

Guided Breathing Mindfulness Meditation

Visualization Meditation

Either of the two techniques above is good for getting you into a meditative state, so choose whichever one you like the best-up to counting your breaths until you reach 10

Visualize the healthy cells of your body. Think about how each one has a job and “knows” how to do it.

Feel appreciation for those healthy and strong cells.

Visualize every cell in your body as being healthy and strong.

Whenever your mind wanders, and it will, GENTLY bring it back to visualizing strong, healthy cells.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what cells actually look like, imagine them whatever way you want so long as your imagine them as strong and healthy.

Feel appreciation for all those strong and healthy cells.

When the timer goes off, gently waken your body as in the two techniques above.

If the cell visualization doesn’t do it for you, then choose another visualization that does. It could be a picture in your mind of your body looking well and strong, or like a movie in your mind of you running through a field of poppies, or playing with children, or whatever physical activity gives or did give you most joy.

Your mind will keep trying to sabotage your efforts with thoughts of “reality” but GENTLY tell yourself this is a game of imagining and you can imagine whatever you like.

Above all, enjoy your meditations.

Here's a new Ted Video on chronic pain

References:


1. Arias AJ, Steinberg K, Banga A, Trestman RL. Systematic review of the efficacy of meditation techniques as treatments for medical illness. J Altern Complement Med. 2006;12(8):817-32.

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    • lifetips123 profile image

      Praveen P.V. Nair 5 years ago from Trivandrum

      Yes i agree to Kj. It is a great article annerivendell. I have also wrote some tips on how to do Yoga and meditation in a simple and effective way, but has not published yet as going on with some more excavations. Anyway, u have done a great job. keep it up.i have given my Thumps up in useful ok.

    • annerivendell profile image
      Author

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Thank you kj force. Yes it works for me too in relieving both stress and pain, particularly migraine. (thankfully I get very few now) . It doesn't work for everyone but it is worth a try-even for a couple of weeks to give it a fair trial.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      annerivendell..very interesting hub and well researched..I do Yogi and Tai Chi in our pool..also do meditation and bike,plus weight excercises..all for reliving STRESS..

      These have also been done for pain, over a period of five years, as I refuse to take meds. It works for me, but I am aware it's not for everyone. Thank you for taking the time to bring this issue to HP..appreciated...

    • SommerDalton profile image

      Sommer Dalton 5 years ago

      What a great hub and very descriptive! Voted up and more!

    • annerivendell profile image
      Author

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      I hope it works for you! Thank you for your comment.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 5 years ago

      I'm going to have to try that muscle tensing and relaxing. That sounds very relaxing to me! Interesting hub.

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