Can you THINK yourself out of the pain?
Is it possible to think yourself out of pain? That’s what a doctor with more than 20 years of experience believes.
dr. Deepak Ravindran, clinical chief of pain medicine at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, has specialized in acute and chronic pain management for over two decades.
He has found what he believes to be a compelling link between a person’s mental state and the severity of the pain experienced.
dr. Deepak Ravindran, clinical chief of pain medicine at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, believes you can use simple mental techniques to relieve yourself of pain (stock image)
“Over the past 15 to 20 years, there has been an understanding of neuroscience and the study of the brain and spinal cord using advanced MRI techniques that provide actual scientific evidence that mind and body are one,” he explained. FEMAIL.
“Under certain conditions, such as chronic pain, the research actually proves that mind-body techniques can be just as effective as compared to traditional techniques such as drugs and surgery.”
These mental exercises may not completely cure a person of pain, but they can certainly help. In some cases more effective than traditional medical interventions.
He continued: ‘We now understand the phenomenon of neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain and nerves to be plastic and rewire itself in a way that it can overcome pain..
“In addition, we realize the role and contribution of lifestyle and personality that are driven by genes, and they can indeed be combined with environmental factors that can activate a particular gene in undesired ways.”
dr. Ravindran outlines his method in his book, The Pain-Free Mindset. Here he shares five practical tips on how to control your pain with FEMAIL…
Activate your ‘internal safety system’ with ‘3-4-5 breathing’
An easy way to apply a breathing technique is a 3-4-5 approach where you inhale for three seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and then exhale for five seconds, explains Dr. Ravindran out (stock image)
One of the most reliable and easily controlled ways to activate the safety system (the parasympathetic system) is to breathe.
When we can exhale longer than we inhale, it can activate the safety system much more predictably and reassure the brain that everything is safe.
A simple way to apply a breathing technique is a 3-4-5 approach where you inhale for three seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and then exhale for five seconds.
Even practicing this for two to five minutes, you can get between 10 and 20 breaths, which can often help significantly calm the nervous system.
Another technique that is easy to start with is the 5-5-5 technique, where you inhale for 5 seconds, hold for five seconds, and then exhale for five seconds.
Focus on a word, phrase or object
One technique to try to relax is to focus on a word, phase, or object—a response Howard wrote cardiologist and mind-body professor Herbert Benson.
This aims to achieve a state of flow or focused awareness of ourselves by using a repeated word, phrase, or action.
The use of Christian rosaries or the Hindu ‘jap mala’ are examples of object focus.
This allows the nerves of our brain to move from what is called a standard network to another set of nerve circuits called the power circuits.
This can then help relax the nervous system and thus reduce physical pain.
Try Yoga or Tai Chi
There are also now studies indicating that yoga and Tai Chi can help and provide pain relief. stock image
Both yoga and Tai Chi, also known as mind-body techniques, are now gaining in popularity.
The exercises are already in the mainstream with GPs and hospital doctors recommending the tasks for different conditions and different age groups.
There are also now studies indicating that yoga and Tai Chi can help and provide pain relief.
Both exercises embrace the concept that pain can be present in both body and mind and can be relieved through rhythmic slow movements.
Yoga and Tai Chi can help control breathing and stretch and improve deconditioned muscles.
There are many videos and apps that can get you started, while local gyms and health centers may also have classes available. These can be of great benefit.
dr. Ravindran outlines his method in his book, The Pain-Free Mindset
Try to adopt a passive, non-judgmental, compassionate attitude towards your thoughts, as this is the core of the concept of mindfulness-based stress reduction.
This technique has a very good scientific basis for managing chronic pain using mind/body approaches.
There is now good scientific evidence to suggest that when people are good mindful meditators, there are positive changes in their nerves.
A mindfulness-based practice doesn’t have to be just about meditation.
It can be any physical activity that patients feel safe and enjoy doing – whether that be eating, running, jogging or going to the gym.
Be selective in the language you use… even when you’re thinking
Evidence has shown that the kind of language we use can be very powerful in shaping our thoughts, and therefore our behavior and actions.
This is important because the language we use and the stories we say can cause unsafe thoughts and actions, which can result in activating our immune system.
This activation of the immune system can release chemicals that can trigger a flare-up of chronic pain circuitry in many different parts of the brain.
Keeping track of your positive thoughts at the start of the day and jotting down a few things you are grateful for are also examples of positive thinking that can change the way you think and reduce pain.dr
Ultimately, many mind-body techniques are used to relieve pain and all now use the principle of neuroplasticity.
The increasing success of these techniques shows that these can be safe and sustainable long-term strategies to overcome pain and in some cases become pain free
The Pain-Free Mindset: 7 Steps to Take Control and Overcome Chronic Pain by Dr. Deepak Ravindran, £14.99, Vermilion