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You have more influence over your pain than you think

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Wednesday, May. 15, 2019

When pain persists, all of the changes that it causes can be overwhelming. Like most people, you try as best as you can to overcome them.

Maybe you turn to a healthcare professional for help, hoping their expertise can fix the problem or at least relieve some of the pain.

Usually, you’ll receive advice on how to not aggravate your pain – suggestions for what to avoid. You may also receive a medication prescription or a referral to a different healthcare professional for treatment.

But did you know that you can influence pain itself? This isn’t wishful thinking – it’s science!

The body’s relationship to pain

If you feel as though your body’s protective systems tend to be on high alert, science shows you can influence them.

The more you practice, the more influence you’ll gain over your body and the longer these changes will persist.

Different techniques can have a different impact on your protective systems and the level of pain you’re in. Combining techniques can even improve effectiveness.

With practice, you can influence your pain even when it’s at its most severe. Some people tell us the pain relief they experience from using these techniques can be equal or superior to taking opioids.

Skeptical? Give this a try

Let’s try a simple exercise. First, relax in a comfortable position. If you’re sitting, lengthen your spine a little. Soften your eyes, jaw, tongue and shoulders.

Make your next three breaths last a bit longer – on the inhale and the exhale.

For the next three breaths, make your breathing smoother – a gentle feeling of the air coming in and out, a smoother movement of your ribs and torso.

For the next three breaths, make your breath softer, like when you soften the grip of a muscle.

Now, breathe longer, smoother and softer. Continue as long as you can stay focused. If your pain intrudes, divide your attention and continue making your breath longer, smoother and softer.

That’s it! It’s that simple. If you’d like to learn more about this breathing technique and follow audio instructions, you can go to www.lifeisnow.ca and select First 5 Steps free.

Techniques that will help you influence pain are best learned through in-person guidance from a skilled clinician. Check out Our Locations page to find a Lifemark clinic near you and schedule an appointment to consult a clinician.

Stay tuned for more in-depth blog articles exploring in the science and practice of pain management, which will be coming your way soon.

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