Pain and Stress Reduction

Pain and stress reduction go hand in hand. Feeling pain is stressful, and research suggests that those who are more stressed and anxious feel more pain.

Many people try their best to get through the day...pushing their pain to the side.

But sometimes it can become too hard to ignore.

You have to do something about your pain.

Have you noticed that when you are tired or stressed that all your aches and pains hurt more?

This is because stress increases the perception of pain.

For some people stress is also a cause of pain.

You may be familiar with the following progression which highlights the importance of pain and stress reduction:

“Pain in the present is experienced as hurt. If released here, it goes not further.
If held, the pain of the past is remembered as anger.
Pain created by thoughts of the future is perceived as anxiety.
Unexpressed anger redirected against one’s self and held inside is called guilt.
Anger directed inwardly toward one’s self creates depression.”

p.76 of Controlling Stress and Tension

We examine the evidence of stress management strategies that have been used for pain reduction.

Biofeedback therapy and chronic pain

Biofeedback is a stress management strategy that is also used to manage pain relief.

Biofeedback therapy amplifies the body’s electrical signals.

Through the conscious decrease of neural firing to the affected area you can better control pain.

Biofeedback has been used for migraine headache relief, TMJ, lower back pain and a number of other chronic pain conditions.

But for biofeedback technology to be fully effective it shouldn’t just decrease pain but get to the causes of stress which manifest in pain.

For this a good biofeedback therapist may be required.

Guided imagery for pain and stress reduction

How Does Stress Affect Health?

Stress not only increases pain perception but also affects health in a number of ways. Some of the effects of stress include:
Stress and hypertension
Stress weight gain
Intestinal gas
Stress and heart disease
Stress and hair loss
Stress and acne
Stress and cancer

Guided imagery is an effective stress management technique that has been used to reduce the pain of cancer patients.

Guided imagery has also been used for a wide variety of chronic pain complaints that range from lower back pain to fibromyalgia.

Mental imagery is often combined with diaphragmatic breathing or biofeedback for pain and stress relief.

Meditation for pain and stress relief

Mindfulness meditation has been used as a stress reduction strategy and also for nonmedical pain relief.

While mindfulness meditation advocates becoming familiar and not resisting the pain sensations, other meditation techniques advocate using meditation to detach from the pain for temporary pain relief.

Massage and for pain and stress relief

Most people know that one of the most common symptoms of stress are muscular tension.

But did you know that muscle tension is the number one symptom of pain?

For this reason, massage is often recommended as the first choice for management of acute and chronic pain.

Research also supports the use of aromatherapy for pain and stress reduction.

Exercise for pain and stress reduction

There is a long line of research that shows that exercise reduces stress.

But did you know that exercise may reduce pain?

Pilates is one of the best exercises in the world to manage lower back pain.

But please use your common sense as ironically, episodes of chronic pain are also caused by over-exercise.

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