Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:25 pm

It was in Burma in the early 1950s, Akuma.
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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Akuma » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:16 pm

Ben wrote:It was in Burma in the early 1950s, Akuma.


Still - assuming that ergotamine wasnt existing in Burma at that time plus he actually did have migraine headaches there still is no causal connection established between his meditative practice and the disappearance of the headaches. And there certainly arent any studies indicating such a thing.
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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby MrsCogan » Tue May 08, 2012 11:28 pm

Akuma wrote:
Justsit wrote:Any documentation for better pain relief during a migraine headache using meditation vs. drugs?

Justsit


From migraine forum I am in it seems apparent that there is not any effect of meditation on migraine whatsoever and from my own experience I know that an attack itself makes concentration impossible. So without trying to be negative I am very doubtful about Goenkas information, not only because morphine is not a migraine medication, he shouldve been using anti-inflammants or triptanes or ergotamine obviously combined with an anti-emetic.
There are masses of people trying to make a buck with migraine patients, exactly because the causes are so far not exactly (enough) known and because its a neurological illness that at this point cannot be healed.
There are whatsoever all sorts of prophylactic measures you can work out with your specialist - some being really hard meds, some being additives like f.e. high dose magnesium, riboflavine or something. But there too the effects are rather limited and I myself am unsure if what the pros wanna sell there really has effect beyond the placebo range.


I agree that I think there's a major placebo thing going on here. I'm very skeptical of meditation alone doing anything for intense pain. I know they've done some interesting work in pain management using video games. What they do is help distract you away from the pain, making it easier to ignore. After all, meditation is an exercise in PAYING ATTENTION. Ignoring things is the opposite of meditation. Meditation can help you not be frightened of pain, but stopping a severe organic problem? Doubtful.
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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 12:20 am

MrsCogan wrote: I know they've done some interesting work in pain management using video games. What they do is help distract you away from the pain, making it easier to ignore. After all, meditation is an exercise in PAYING ATTENTION. Ignoring things is the opposite of meditation. Meditation can help you not be frightened of pain, but stopping a severe organic problem? Doubtful.

This is an important issue, that I pointed to above: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11546#p174698

It seems counter-intuitive to non-meditators, or beginning meditators, but, as several of the post and links above have described, paying close attention to pain can actually make it much more bearable. And, actually, that's what the Buddha's teaching is all about, dealing with dukkha by paying attention.

However, it is by no means easy, and by no means a magic bullet. Bhikkhu Bodhi's discussion of (partially) dealing with pain is well worth listening to. viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11546#p174799

:anjali:
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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby manas » Wed May 09, 2012 12:59 am

Hi Ben, all,

I've had a few experiences with overcoming pain through meditation, that here might be a good place to share. Not sitting in half-lotus or anything, I mean I was reclining back comfortably, with a cold compress on my head. But I did two things. First, I tuned into my breath, to calm myself down a bit (the pain was intense and I wasn't calm). Once I was more relaxed, I turned my attention to the pain itself. I gently guided my awareness into every aspect of the sensations, trying to find their centre, their essence. Needless to say this isn't easy and it hurts a heck of a lot, I'm not going to sugar-coat it. Anyway, the only way I could do this was to surrender to the pain - to not wish it gone. This was very difficult, because the acquired habit we all have is to reject pain. But I saw this as an experiment, something that I knew would not last forever. So I worked and worked to sincerely accept the pain, to stop trying to push it away, stop wishing it to be gone. It's a 180 degree turnaround, that instead of awareness trying to escape the sensations, it actually 'goes in deeper and deeper' and willingly explores them.

So I'm exploring it. What is it, really? Throbbing...pulsating...(this all happens over the course of half an hour or so)...go deeper into what hurts the most (in peace) - there, what is that? And while I was trying to find it's centre, it's 'essence' or 'substance', I started to perceive it as heat. It was like, the pain had changed into something else. This was amazing. Anyway, I kept going, into that...and over a period of time it began to dissipate, fade away.

It doesn't always work this way for me, and there can be this trap where you do the meditation thinking, "ok pain I accept you" while in the secret back of your mind you are thinking, "ok I accept you now hurry up and dissipate!" So it isn't always easy to do, because ime one has to be sincere in the acceptance. And sometimes it doesn't go away in the time-frame I would like it to...I just have to 'let it be' for what can be up to half a day, if need be lying down in bed half asleep. But I must admit that since then I have not taken a pill for a headache, I deal with it naturally - cold compress on the forehead, glass of water, lie back, relax, breathe...and if need be, just a good lie down.

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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 2:34 am

Thanks Manas,
manas wrote:So I'm exploring it. What is it, really? Throbbing...pulsating...(this all happens over the course of half an hour or so)...go deeper into what hurts the most (in peace) - there, what is that? And while I was trying to find it's centre, it's 'essence' or 'substance', I started to perceive it as heat. It was like, the pain had changed into something else. This was amazing. Anyway, I kept going, into that...and over a period of time it began to dissipate, fade away.

That's the sort of description Bhikkhu Bodhi gives in the talk I linked to.

:anjali:
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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby Moggalana » Wed May 09, 2012 7:33 am

There is an interesting podcast with neuroscientist Tim Gard at the Secular Buddhist Association about pain attenuation through mindfulness and how this effect of mindfulness differs from the placebo effect or other pain management techniques.

http://secularbuddhism.org/2011/12/23/e ... ndfulness/

If I remember correctly, some of this has also been discussed in the previous episode:

http://secularbuddhism.org/2011/12/17/e ... ndfulness/

There is another one (but I haven't listened to it yet):

http://secularbuddhism.org/2011/04/15/e ... editation/
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Re: Pain relief: meditation better than drugs, study finds

Postby danieLion » Thu May 10, 2012 9:35 pm

MrsCogan wrote:I agree that I think there's a major placebo thing going on here. I'm very skeptical of meditation alone doing anything for intense pain.... After all, meditation is an exercise in PAYING ATTENTION. Ignoring things is the opposite of meditation.


Bull pucky!

1) What do you mean by "meditation"?

2) ALL types of "meditation" the Buddha taught were not just about "PAYING ATTENTION", but what you attend to, how you attend to it, when you attend to it, where you attend to it..., etc.... Do you really think you can summarize what the Buddha taught about "meditation" with a few English phrases? You should pay more attention to how you conjugate "to be" verbs.

3) I've had chronic pain for a while now, and "meditation" (anapanasati, jhana, satipatthana, metta, Qigong) very often is the only thing that works (relieves or reduces pain), and in those rare times it doesn't it always helps me endure it by appropriately adjusting my attitude toward it.

4) The so-called "placebo effect" is a manifestation of concentration's healing potentiality.

5) No one here is claiming "meditation" is a cure. The Buddha had a bad back, pain, and eventually fell subject to aging/sickness/death (this relates to the above mentioned attitude adjustment).
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