Monday, July 12, 2010

Pain Management and Weight Loss Success

Recently I wrote about pain and how I had been letting my physical pain keep me from working out as much as I normally would.

Maybe I'm naive but I was surprised that this concept would stir up any sort of controversy! But, I got messages from people who think maybe my pain isn't real or that I'm dismissing people who are in chronic pain.

Since that is certainly not the case, I thought I'd follow up with some information I read this weekend about ways to reduce your pain...because I DO know that being in pain can seriously hinder our ability and willingness to move our bodies...and even to eat right. When we are in pain (physical or emotional) we seek comfort and sometimes food gives us that comfort, albeit temporary, and we can then ADD to our pain by increasing our physical weight.

This comes from Doctors Oz and Roizen...the title is "Mindfulness meditation conquers stubborn pain" (Click the title if you want to see the entire article)
people who meditated for just 20 minutes a day saw their pain tolerance rise

Meditation doesn't work because your pain is "all in your head." Chronic pain is all too real...When pain won't quit, stress and worry kick in, boosting levels of stress hormones, which tricks your brain into thinking the pain is worse than it is.

De-stressing with meditation or similar mind/body techniques dials back stress hormones which in turn diminishes pain.

meditation eased pain by helping your brain to stop anticipating it...Less stress and less pain also can mean better sleep, more motivation to exercise and even less depression, all of which also make you relax more and hurt less.

So how do you do it? Here are 3 different methods to try from the good doctors:

First, find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down for 10-15 minutes

Mindfulness meditation:
  • Close your eyes to help you stay focused
  • Breathe in and out slowly & naturally
  • Acknowledge your thoughts, feelings and the physical sensations in your body but don't get wrapped up in them
  • Keep gently returning your focus to your breathing
  • After 10 minutes begin to notice your surroundings as you breathe calmly
  • Then plan to go about your day with this feeling of calm awareness
Guided Imagery:
This technique works by distracting you and helps ease pain similarly to meditation.
  • Shut your eyes and imagine an idyllic "happy place"
  • Use all of your sense to put yourself in that place
  • Remember scents, colors, the air, mood, anything that makes it come alive
  • Stay there, relax and enjoy

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
  • Breathe slowly from your abdomen
  • Isolate and tighten each muscle group without straining for 7-10 seconds
  • Release the muscles abruptly
  • Rest 15-20 seconds
  • Start with your fists
  • Move to your forearms, biceps, face, neck, shoulders, upper back, chest, stomach, lower back, buttocks, thighs, lower legs, feet.
Hope that helps...practice mindful meditation and reduce your pain...if that weren't good enough all by itself, it will help with your weight loss success!

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