Meditation techniques for shoulder pain can be learned with a few hours instruction, and deliver a lifetime of pain relief.
One of the fathers of using meditation to relieve pain is John Kabat Zinn, and his work at Harvard. The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain can be referenced here. Other recent research appears in an article by UNC Charlotte psychologists Fadel Zeidan, Nakia S. Gordon, Junaid Merchant and Paula Goolkasian, The Journal of Pain.
Pain in your shoulders and upper back is either muscle pain and joint pain. Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes.
Causes Of Shoulder Pain
The tendons pass underneath a rigid bony arch in the shoulder. The most common cause of shoulder pain is when the tendons become trapped under this arch.
The compressed tendons become inflamed or damaged, a condition called rotator cuff tendinitis. This can occur from:
- General wear and tear as you get older
- An activity that requires constant shoulder use, such as baseball pitching, or work activities in which you need to raise your shoulder
- An injury
Shoulder pain can also be due to:
- Arthritis in the joints around the shoulder (gradual narrowing of the joints and loss of protective cartilage).
- Bursitis (inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, or bursa, that lies between tendon and skin or between tendon and bone). Normally a bursa protects the joint and helps make movement more fluid.
- Fractures of the shoulder bones.
- Frozen shoulder syndrome occurs when the muscles, tendons, and ligaments stiffen up inside the shoulder and make any motion painful and difficult.
- Inflammation of nearby tendons, such as those connected to the bicep muscles of your arms, from overuse or injury.
- Dislocation of your shoulder, which is when the ball-shaped head of your arm comes out of the socket. original story here.
So far, we’re shown you research that meditation techniques for shoulder pain are proven to be effective, and taken a quick look at the causes of shoulder pain. Always consult with your doctor before you undertake any home treatment for your chronic pain.
So what are the best methods of relieving shoulder pain with meditation?
There are many, here’s one of the best.
Body Scan Meditation Techniques For Shoulder Pain
“The heart of Buddhist meditation is actually called mindfulness, and our operational definition of it is really paying attention in the only moment we’re ever alive — which is the present moment,” Kabat-Zinn says.
This can be tough for people living with pain. After all, who wants to be “in the moment” when your joints are aching, your head’s throbbing, or you’re living with a scary diagnosis? No wonder our first impulse is to run away. Bill Mies tried that.
“I am a stressed-out guy,” say Mies, “but I’ve been working on it for a long time.”
Mies is a yacht broker from Annapolis, Md., with a full white beard. About a year ago, he started having shoulder and neck problems. He saw doctors who gave him injections and a physical therapist who prescribed some exercises, but he still wasn’t completely better.
He eventually found his way to a mindfulness class in Baltimore, modeled on Kabat-Zinn’s teachings. The course is now offered in dozens of hospitals and medical centers around the country, and studies suggest it does help people cope with the psychological distress of diseases, such as arthritis, psoriasis and cancer.
The Body Scan
During one recent class, Bill Mies and seven other students practiced a technique called the body scan. Lying on mats and pillows wearing socks and comfy clothes, instructor Trish Magyari walked them through a sort of mental tour of the body.
“We’ll travel down through the body bringing our awareness into our left foot,” says Magyari. When people learn to stay with the scan, it becomes a useful trick or tool to shift your focus — whenever you need to.
“The point of it is to train our mind where we want it to go,” Magyari says, instead of letting the mind wander into worry or be held hostage by the panic of pain.
Bill Mies finds the body scan extremely helpful at times, but acknowledges that during his most recent class, he was struggling.
“I found my mind drifting,” he says. He found himself thinking, “I should be doing something more productive instead of paying attention to the sensations in my left leg.”
Quieting these thoughts is a challenge for people just starting out, says Magyari. But the question is: If you can stick with it, does mindfulness training really help?
“I think the concept of who does it work for… depends on what exactly we’re measuring,” Magyari says.
Take for example, a small research study with 63 rheumatoid arthritis patients. After two months of mindfulness training, the patients’ physical symptoms did not disappear, but they reported feeling better. Scores of psychological distress dropped 30 percent.
Block out at least 30 minutes of time and turn off your cell phone. Lie down in a comfortable place, such as your bed or a cushy mat on the floor.
Before you start the scan, notice the parts of the body in contact with the mat.
“People often notice what is pressing is their heads or hips, so before the formal scan, we imagine softening around those areas,” Magyari says.
This is a chance to tune into and relax parts of the body that are holding tension – such as the jaws, neck and shoulders, or even gripping in the calves.
Set Your Intention
Agree to let go of the past and future. Don’t listen to the sounds around you. Let everything fade into the background but the body. Agree to meet what you find in the body with friendliness.
“Usually, when people find something in their body they don’t like, they meet it with judgment; the body that’s in pain is your enemy,” Magyari says. “It’s a very radical concept to meet the body with friendliness.”
Begin the Scan
Imagine you’re taking a tour of your body — looking to see what’s there just today. Don’t visualize or move your body parts; simply notice and experience them, one by one. Magyari says start with the left foot. Feel how the heel makes contact with the mat. Can you tell if your toes are colder than the rest of your foot? If you have a blanket over you or a sock on, notice the weight and texture of the fabric.
Once you scan over a body part, allow that part to fade from awareness. Let it go and then move up to the next body part: the ankle, the calf, the knee, the thigh. Then cross over the lower torso, travel down the right leg and start again at the right foot, and repeat, traveling up the body, part by part, until you reach the head.
Connect It All Together
After you scan the head, you want to connect the entire body together, says Magyari.
“Instructors give cues to help you feel the entire body,” she says.
For example: Feel the head connected to the neck, the neck connected to the torso, the torso connected to the arms, and so on.
The final step is to feel the skin around the whole body, Magyari says. Notice the sensations on your skin — temperature, texture.
“At the very end, we’re lying with the awareness of our wholeness in that moment. We’re not thinking about what’s right or wrong with us, our state of health, but just that sense of physical wholeness,” Magyari says. Original story here.
Sometimes learning these meditation techniques for shoulder pain and other forms of chronic pain requires more guidance than we can provide in writing here.
If you want to learn about guided meditations for chronic pain, please leave a comment below, and we’ll tell y0u about Jim Arthur’s program, which has 5 different meditation techniques for both muscle pain and joint pain in your shoulders.
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