Acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to injury or to the possibility of injury. Acute pain lets you know that you need to take action to protect and care for yourself. Chronic pain, on the other hand, persists for three to six months or more than the normal healing time of an injury. It can be mild, excruciating, recurrent or continuous, annoying and inconvenient or totally debilitating; it may originate from an initial trauma or injury, or there may be an ongoing cause. Some chronic pain may even occur in the absence of any past injury.
What’s Going On With My Chronic Pain?
If pain can occur in the absence of any past injury, then what is going on? The nerve sensors in the body send signals via the spinal cord to the brain that the brain concludes as danger, creating the sensation of pain. Therefore, pain is an output from the brain as a result of its interpretation of the nerve signals and is not an input to the brain.
As stated by Neil Pearson, a leading researcher, “Pain, like all human experience, is a body-mind-spirit, or biopsychosocial phenomenon.” In the end, comprehensive alternative treatments, such as yoga, could prove to be crucial to relieving chronic blockages and stress contained in the body.
Working with the Mind and Emotions
Oftentimes, individuals who experience a painful encounter will exhibit various emotional responses such as depression, anxiety, and fear. These experiences are known to increase one’s perception of discomfort. Questions you can ask yourself to access your mental perception of pain include:
- What thoughts do I have when i’m in pain?
- Does the pain trigger any memories?
- What emotions do I feel when I’m in pain?
With this information, you can create a program for yourself of relaxation and meditation techniques to induce more positive emotions.
Want to begin a mindfulness practice?
Physical Practices for Chronic Pain
Imbalances in the body can exacerbate old injuries and create blockages in the body. If you tend to stand hunched over or leaning to one side, your body weight is not aligned in the safest way. Stacking and lengthening your body will maintain your balance better. Good posture places you in an alignment where stress is properly distributed to the intended muscles and ligaments. As a result, the muscles are allowed to work efficiently and as intended, which in turn decreases wear and tear on your joints. This decreases your risk of joint discomfort and degenerative arthritis.
Bring the feet right under your hip joints, not the outer hips, but the center of the hips. Weight the two feet evenly. Press down equally through the four corners of your feet. Stack the hips over the front of the heels and the shoulders over the hips. Draw the ears back, over the shoulders, and up, towards the sky.
While Seated in a Chair:
Sit up tall against the back of your chair. Have both feet on the floor. Roll onto the center of your sitting bones. Lengthen your spine and open your chest. Relax your shoulders down and onto your back. Notice if your lung capacity has changed.
Yoga Today has many therapeutic yoga classes for people working with pain.