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How Meditation Helps Reduce the Need for Opioids for Pain Relief

By on Jan 27, 2021 in Blog, Recovery

woman sitting outside in lotus position with her back to the camera - meditation and pain

You suffer from pain. That’s why you have to take pain medications. Yet, opioid-based medications cause changes in your body and create an increased risk of addiction. If you are one of the many people who are facing this struggle, meditation may be able to provide some level of support and improvement for you.

You Need a New Method for Pain Management

Many people turn to opioids for pain relief because they can be very effective at blocking the communication between the pain-causing area and the brain. They also create a feel-good experience, minimizing the cognitive implications of ongoing pain.

The widespread use and misuse of opioids, including those in prescription pain medications, has made it far more dangerous for people with chronic pain to find relief. With over 130 people dying every day in the U.S. from opioid overdoses, you need a new way to get relief that doesn’t put you in this risk category. Mindful meditation may be able to help.

What Is Mindful Meditation?

Studies indicate that mindful meditation can significantly ease the stress factors related to chronic pain. It may help to reduce the sensory aspects of pain, the cognitive impact of pain, and the toll pain takes on a person’s life. Mindful meditation “tricks” the mind into reducing its pain signals.

Mindful meditation began as a type of Buddhist tradition centuries ago. Here, a person would sit in quiet stillness for long periods of time in the hopes of reaching enlightenment, a peaceful state of mind beyond cravings and reactions. In practice, meditation is an excellent way to help your body to stop focusing on the negative pain–and thus to stop feeling it so intensely.

Meditation and Pain Processing

For men and women with chronic pain, the damage to the nerve sending those pain signals cannot be repaired in most cases. Sometimes those nerves send pain signals even though there’s no real physical problem. In other cases, the pain is present, but traditional treatment can’t relieve it. In this case, meditation may help.

Meditation helps to reduce the intensity of pain a person feels. It does this even when the opioid receptors, which are used to receiving support from pain medications, are blocked. In other words, meditation works in a different manner than opioids to stop the sensation of pain. Instead of turning off the pain sensors like opioids do, meditation changes what the brain is focusing on, helping to block the focus on pain stimuli.

According to an article in The Atlantic, which quotes researcher Dr. Fadel Zeiden, “‘Meditation teaches patients how to react to the pain,’ Zeiden said. ‘People are less inclined to have the ‘Ouch’ reaction, then they are able to control the emotional reaction to pain.’ He explained that the meditator learns while sitting on the cushion that pain is fleeting and doesn’t deserve such a strong emotional reaction.”

How to Use Meditation in Addiction Recovery

Meditation is not the first line of therapy for those with a substance use disorder. If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, be sure to turn to a treatment center that can help you detox and then treat the underlying cause of your addiction.

However, meditation can be a component of your recovery. Specifically, it can help to address the pain you feel during withdrawal as well as any ongoing chronic pain concerns you have.

While sitting down in a quiet area and focusing inward is a good step for most people to begin to use meditation, it’s best to work with a professional who can teach you firsthand how to deeply meditate. As a holistic treatment for drug use, meditation requires practice to be fully effective.

We Are Ready to Help

At Victory Addiction Recovery Center, we encourage you to use holistic addiction treatments to compliment the professional support you are getting. Meditation may give you the boost you need to gain control over your health and your life.

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Looking for medical detox near Baton Rouge? To learn more about our programs at Victory Addiction Recovery Center, please contact us anytime at (337) 379.7700.


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