How often do you wake up and feel the same old pain in your neck? Or perhaps your shoulder bothers you from time to time. Maybe your knee just doesn't like those long runs and reminds you of that every time the dog bumps into you.
Chronic pain is not a laughing matter. In fact, it may deteriorate your overall quality of life. In extreme cases, when pain lingers, it's always a great idea to see a specialist.
You might have more wrong than just a sore muscle or bruised bone.
But before you set up an appointment with the local physical therapist, we have a few different relaxation techniques for pain.
These techniques will help reduce your level of pain while boosting your ability to enjoy life, all at the same time.
Relaxation Techniques for Pain & How Pain Affects Your Body
Mental and physical pain affect your body in surprisingly similar ways.
Have you ever received a text from someone that instantly caused you to worry?
Maybe you received a notice from a loved one in the hospital and now your brain is running a million different directions.
Or perhaps you ran into that one dreaded ex and now you're just thinking about all those terrible past dates you wanted to put behind you.
Whatever it is, it builds stress, which causes you to quicken your breath and your heart rate to elevate.
When you injure yourself, or when you're in pain, you experience the same symptoms.
But what happens with your heart rate builds and your breathing quickens?
You reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the rest of your body. This directly impacts the number of nutrients and energy every other cell in your body receives.
It's why chronic pain in a knee can cause you to feel fatigued or tired. It's not in your head. The rest of your body really is fatigued because it's not receiving the necessary energy and nutrients.
In order to improve this, you need to slow down your heart rate and increase your oxygen intake.
Don't Fret About Relaxation
You may hear one person talking about a certain kind of relaxation technique. Don't fret if it doesn't work for you or if you don't like it. Different techniques work for different people.
Finding the right relaxation techniques for pain shouldn't stress you out and add to the problems you're suffering from.
That's why you need to test out different relaxation methods to find out what works for you and what you should pass on.
One of the best ways to increase the amount of oxygen you take in and slow your heart rate is to force your body to take in more oxygen. With the foursquare breathing technique, you'll breathe slowly and deeply.
Concentrate on your abdominal area expanding out like a balloon. While you breathe in a count to four, hold for four, exhale for a count of four, then hold for four. Repeat this 10 times.
There are a number of different benefits connected to foursquare breathing. While it does help force your rate of breathing to slow down, which in turn impacts your heart rate, it also helps center your thoughts.
If you suffer from anxiety or situational stress, counting in your head while you breathe in and out will help take your mind off the situation (this may also help if you feel yourself becoming angry and need a breathing technique to calm yourself down.)
This takes more mental attention, which can be good as it takes your attention away from physical pain. It's another technique suitable for anxiety and stress.
With guided imagery, you'll start focused on controlled breathing. It may help to lay down.
Silence your phone and turn off any kind of audio devices as well. As your breathing begins to slow, focus on a calming scene in your mind.
Perhaps it's laying on a beach, or at a lake house. It can be anywhere you feel calm and relaxed at.
Fill in as much information as possible. This includes the colors of the water, the trees, the sand and anything else there. Paint in a realistic picture.
Don't just do this with the vision though, focus on the smell and the sound.
Could you smell the salt of the ocean, or hear the crashing or waves. This will fully surround you with your rental location.
It's generally easier to do this if you've been to this location. You likely have some sort of happy location or peaceful destination.
If you don't, or if you struggle with visualizing this, there are guided meditation options online where you'll listen to someone walk you through the process.
Much like selecting the right form of relaxation, there are many guided meditation videos as well, so you can test, sample and select which works best for you personally.
So much of pain relaxation is attempting to avoid it. Mindfulness meditation is the exact opposite. While you don't think of the pain, you don't push the thought of pain away, should it come up.
You'll start in a similar position as you would with the guided imagery method. It's usually easy to begin laying down, but if that's not an option you can do it seated.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Don't try to shift it or change it. Just think about it. See how your body reacts to each breath in and each breath out. Then follow the pain.
Does your neck hurt while you breath?
Don't avoid it. Follow the pain.
Does it run through your body?
Can you feel it tingle into your hand?
Notice the pain. By noticing it you won't feel as surprised when the pain comes about during the day.
After you follow the pain, return your thoughts to the breath. This helps you cope with the pain easier throughout the rest of the day when you can easily identify it and move past it.
Pain is not something you should deal with on a continual basis. There are a number of ways you can correct chronic pain in the body.
While some are more invasive and require medical assistance, it's not always the best course of action.
In fact, you may have the ability to correct and even reverse pain with the help of these relaxation techniques.
With the help of relaxation techniques, you'll not only potentially reduce the amount of pain you're experiencing, but you'll improve other aspects of your own health, ranging from mental fatigue to heart rate.