For many people, physical pain is not only annoying, it can be debilitating. And unfortunately, if you take a look at the the state of big-pharma and its influence when it comes to the treatment of pain, both short-term and chronic, it’s pretty obvious that the commonly held solution to it isn’t meditation or other holistic healing methods. Rather, the solution isn’t really a solution but a mere band-aid.
Jonah Lehrer from The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article on meditation’s role in the treatment of pain. Likening this cheap and easy form of healing to a sort of natural morphine, Lehrer cites two scientific studies (Duke and Wake Forest University) which reported promising results when it came to meditation and other methods and their effectiveness at not only treating the physical symptoms of pain, but also helping to access the underlying pain body.
But meditation isn’t the only mind-based approach that has gotten impressive results. Researchers at Duke University recently looked at a wide variety of psychological interventions for chronic lower back pain, including cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback and hypnosis. In almost every case, these treatments proved effective, leading to improved health outcomes at a fraction of the cost of conventional medical approaches.
The larger lesson is that, for far too long, we’ve been treating pain as a purely physical problem, a sensation rooted in the breakdown of the flesh. As a result, we’ve invested in costly and often ineffective surgeries, such as spinal fusion, that attempt to fix the mechanical failure.
But this approach oversimplifies an extremely complex condition. It’s now clear that pain is best understood as a mental state concerning the body, an objective sensation terribly twisted by the brain. And that’s why these psychological interventions sometimes work better than scalpels: They help us to untwist our thoughts.
Read more from Lehrer on using meditation to heal your pain here.