Hurt myself while meditating?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Soeun » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:26 am

I started meditating about a year and a half ago. Before I could sit during vipassana meditation for at least an hour, that is until I over exerted myself and hurt my muscles around my right shoulder blade during vipassana meditation over a year ago. When I think it is healed back up I try to sit for 15 to 20 minutes and it seems fine, then like 10 minutes after I feel pain again. I get frustrated because I can't get to the level of concentration as before and I don't know if I'm over exerting myself. Thanks in advance for any advice for this novice meditater!
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Mr. G » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:33 am

I use this to assist in back and knee support:

http://www.nadachair.com/

Love it! It can also be used with a regular chair as well.

In terms of chairs, many cellists like the Adjustrite musician's chair.

:namaste:
Even if my body should be burnt to death
In the fires of hell,
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice
- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Cloud » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:00 am

The trick is to not obstruct the airway. You can even meditate while lying in bed.

Namaste
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Soeun » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:30 am

Thanks for the replies. That back strap thingy looks interesting, If my shoulder don't seem to get better I might buy that product. That is another big concern too is I don't know if I'm sitting right. My mediation teacher just said to sit in the best position that is most comptable. My legs are short so I can't do the full lotus, but I tried every posture and the half lotus seems the most comptable.
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:49 am

Soeun wrote:I started meditating about a year and a half ago. Before I could sit during vipassana meditation for at least an hour, that is until I over exerted myself and hurt my muscles around my right shoulder blade during vipassana meditation over a year ago. When I think it is healed back up I try to sit for 15 to 20 minutes and it seems fine, then like 10 minutes after I feel pain again. I get frustrated because I can't get to the level of concentration as before and I don't know if I'm over exerting myself. Thanks in advance for any advice for this novice meditater!


I would get the shoulder looked at by a doctor. A year is a long time for something like that not to heal up. If your doctor says its ok, you might try some gentle yoga stretching and relaxation before you sit. This would relax the muscles and help take tension out of the picture as a cause. It would also allow you to gently stretch muscles you may have been favoring for the last year back into shape. I have had some sort of back pain on and off for most of my adult life, but if i can keep my back strong, stretched out and relaxed, its tolerable. Yoga does those things for me. Good luck :)
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:40 am

Hi Soeun,
Soeun wrote:... until I over exerted myself and hurt my muscles around my right shoulder blade during vipassana meditation over a year ago.

Can you describe a little more what actually happened? Did you develop some sort of spontaneous movement when sitting (which is quite common) that led to injury?

I ask because I've had experience on retreats of a week or so of knotted muscles (or something - I don't know the technicalities) getting really sore, but the body eventually spontaneously rearranging itself to fix them. The experience felt a bit like being manipulated by a therapist. Sometimes the "knottiness" moved around as one set of muscles gets sorted out, but now there was pressure on another set, and so on... This was usually back muscles.

If it's that kind of thing you are experiencing, and you're convinced you're not damaging something, perhaps it's possible to sit through it. However, it would be prudent to get someone to look at it. And some therapy might fix it more quickly and painlessly.

:anjali:
Mike


:anjali:
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Soeun » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:13 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Soeun,
Soeun wrote:... until I over exerted myself and hurt my muscles around my right shoulder blade during vipassana meditation over a year ago.

Can you describe a little more what actually happened? Did you develop some sort of spontaneous movement when sitting (which is quite common) that led to injury?

I ask because I've had experience on retreats of a week or so of knotted muscles (or something - I don't know the technicalities) getting really sore, but the body eventually spontaneously rearranging itself to fix them. The experience felt a bit like being manipulated by a therapist. Sometimes the "knottiness" moved around as one set of muscles gets sorted out, but now there was pressure on another set, and so on... This was usually back muscles.

If it's that kind of thing you are experiencing, and you're convinced you're not damaging something, perhaps it's possible to sit through it. However, it would be prudent to get someone to look at it. And some therapy might fix it more quickly and painlessly.

:anjali:
Mike


:anjali:
Mike


Well, It was my foolish pride is why it happened. I was at a 10-day retreat for the first time and this was my first time ever meditating too. The longest meditation sitting was 2 hours and on the 8th day I decided that I wanted see if I could sit the whole 2 hours without moving. About 1 hour and 45 minutes into the sitting I started feeling muscle tension around my shoulder blade but I figured since I was so close to reaching my goal that I'd pushed through it. Well, I reached my goal, but soon after the muscles around my shoulder blade got really weak and sore, like it been torn, Then after 10 minutes my breathing got wheezy. I don't think it is knotted like what you described. Then I went to my doctor after that and he checked it with X-rays and didn't find anything terribly wrong with it, he said it was only a sprained muscle. I think it is just weak because It toke me a couple months to get healed without and pain and I hurry to much back into practice because when I sit it's only that same spot the hurts. But the other thing is when I sit my sometimes I don't feel pain and it is only after or the next day that it feels really sore.
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Soeun » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:20 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Soeun wrote:I started meditating about a year and a half ago. Before I could sit during vipassana meditation for at least an hour, that is until I over exerted myself and hurt my muscles around my right shoulder blade during vipassana meditation over a year ago. When I think it is healed back up I try to sit for 15 to 20 minutes and it seems fine, then like 10 minutes after I feel pain again. I get frustrated because I can't get to the level of concentration as before and I don't know if I'm over exerting myself. Thanks in advance for any advice for this novice meditater!


I would get the shoulder looked at by a doctor. A year is a long time for something like that not to heal up. If your doctor says its ok, you might try some gentle yoga stretching and relaxation before you sit. This would relax the muscles and help take tension out of the picture as a cause. It would also allow you to gently stretch muscles you may have been favoring for the last year back into shape. I have had some sort of back pain on and off for most of my adult life, but if i can keep my back strong, stretched out and relaxed, its tolerable. Yoga does those things for me. Good luck :)
thanks for the reply, yeah I'm looking into more stretching and yoga stuff because to tell you the truth I hardly ever stretch until I got hurt. I'm learning to that it seems like it gets locked up more in the mourning and during the evening it gets better once it loosens up. I'm not that bright, I have to learn the hard way alot.
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:15 pm

Soeun wrote: I'm not that bright, I have to learn the hard way alot.




Me too :lol:
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"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:07 pm

Hi Soeun,

Thanks for explaining the problem in more detail. Interesting, and slightly alarming, that one can strain a muscle like that but, as I said above, I've had some quite interesting experiences where the body seemed to be straining itself to get straightened out (while I just observed...), and other experiences where I moved and shook. One of my monastic teachers said that he'd seen people shake so much they whacked their head on the ground. (This was back in Bangladesh - where he's from - on Mahasi-style retreats). I'm guessing that your retreat was a Goenka one? I've only been on one Goenka retreat, back in 2007, but that was my first long retreat, and the first time I really had this sort of thing happen.

Hmm, in conclusion, I don't seem to be offering anything useful, but I would try to discuss it with your teachers, who may well have seen similar problems.

:anjali:
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Re: Hurt myself while meditating?

Postby Soeun » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:16 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Soeun,

Thanks for explaining the problem in more detail. Interesting, and slightly alarming, that one can strain a muscle like that but, as I said above, I've had some quite interesting experiences where the body seemed to be straining itself to get straightened out (while I just observed...), and other experiences where I moved and shook. One of my monastic teachers said that he'd seen people shake so much they whacked their head on the ground. (This was back in Bangladesh - where he's from - on Mahasi-style retreats). I'm guessing that your retreat was a Goenka one? I've only been on one Goenka retreat, back in 2007, but that was my first long retreat, and the first time I really had this sort of thing happen.

Hmm, in conclusion, I don't seem to be offering anything useful, but I would try to discuss it with your teachers, who may well have seen similar problems.

:anjali:
Mike


Thanks mizen66,

Your replies was very helpful because I was wandering if anyone else had the same or similar injury. Yes, it was the Goenka 10-day retreat and towards the end of the retreat Goenka tells us to try to sit for one hour straight without opening your hands, feet, or change positions. Because the teaching was from a video recording I mistaken want he said since day 3 thinking Goenka said don't move at all. So I muscled through alot of the sitting without moving and I strained alot too during some sittings.I guess my body wasn't built up yet for that much strain and eventually it gave out.
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