Monday, 13 February 2012

Mindfulness meditation and chronic pain

my little Buddha in the snow
For the last 21 years my life has been blighted by a neuromuscular disorder called chronic myofascial pain or CMP. 

The condition can be managed but, so far, cannot be cured.  I'll write about how it originated and how I manage it in another blog.  For now I want to record the start of a new effort on my part to get better.  I’m going to try eight weeks of mindfulness meditation.

snow melting
I've meditated on and off since 1978, mostly using attention to breath methods but my focus has been sporadic. You know how it goes…all enthusiastic for a few months, then it’s Christmas or you get a cold and your practice gets lost. Then another surge of interest and off you go again. This time however I want to persevere. 
When giving me my diagnosis about six years ago my consultant said to me “the only thing that has reversed this condition is meditation.” I was still reeling at being told I had an incurable neuromuscular problem so I hardly heard him. I did go to a class for while but didn’t continue. 

still melting

Now I’m going to give it a shot according to the methods of the MBSR in Massachusetts.

I’m going to do 45 minutes mindfulness meditation six days a week for eight weeks and see how I feel. Research by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, over the last thirty years, is now showing that the pain perception area of the brain is altered by regular meditation. 

(this is a long talk, all of which is interesting, however the medical research part is found roughly at 0:37:16)

Surely it has to be better than codeine and diazepam.

at last, Buddha revealed
I'll keep this blog posted on my progress

Wishing you health and happiness