Friday, November 22, 2013

Chronic Pain Relief? Do a Body Scan!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div. 

We are creatures of pleasure.  We love to feel good!  Conversely, we don't like to feel pain.  It's very normal and very human.  We run from it.  We fight it.  We ignore it.  We medicate it.  We'll do just about anything to avoid having to feel pain.  

What if pain doesn't avoid us?  What if we have chronic pain that just won't leave us alone?  For many people, this is their day-to-day reality.  The pain is real.  The pain is strong.  The pain is relentless.   The pain is chronic.  Living with such pain can be depressing, demotivating, and can be an annoying experience, often on a daily basis.  

One potential modality for healing is something called a 'body scan'.  This is particularly useful because it allows the sufferer to become aware of their musculature and the emotions that can exacerbate chronic pain.  A body scan allows a person to identify anything wrong in their body, such as tight muscles, as well as the opportunity to try and add some pain relief through a systematic overview of one's emotional state because emotions can have an effect on the physical body.  

Performing a body scan is a very easy thing to do.  First, lie down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms by your side resting comfortably.  Close your eyes and pay attention to the tip of the nose as you breathe in slowly and gently.  After you've spent a few moments relaxing and getting focused, it's time to begin the actual body scan.  

Starting with your right foot, begin to notice muscles that are tight.  Scan, that is imagine or visualize, your calf muscles and your thigh muscles for any tension or muscular tightness.  Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Continue scanning the right side of your body all the way up to the top of your head.  Once you've completed the scan of the right side, continue scanning from the top of your head to the bottom of your left foot.  For each muscle, pay attention to how tight it is and see if you can begin to loosen it up by relaxing the muscle while continuing your deep breathing.  

At first this may seem silly but with practice you will find that your body can relax to a whole new level.  For patients with chronic pain, this is good news.  Relaxing your body can relax the tension in 
the muscles as well as the emotional tension associated with chronic pain.  This can, in turn, lower the over all power and punch of the chronic pain.

Take a few days in the next week and do some body scanning first thing after you wake up or last thing before you go to bed.  You might even want to keep a body scan journal to record your reflections and discoveries throughout this process.  You can even keep a scoring system of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain you've ever felt and 1 being no pain at all.   

The benefits of body scanning are numerous.  I highly suggest them particularly for patients with chronic pain.  A relaxed body leads to a relaxed mind which leads to relaxed emotions.  Relaxed emotions help keep the body loose and limber.  This, in turn, makes some, if not all, chronic pain a little more bearable.  This is a good thing!

At The Coleman Institute, we loving helping people get clean and stay clean from prescription pain pills.  Many of our patients suffer from chronic pain and can't get off the pills without assistance.  That 
is where we come in.  

If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here for you!

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