As an athlete, perhaps one of the biggest hazards that you will face is the constant threat of injuries. That’s why our article ‘Best Off-Season Conditioning Strategy for Serious Athletes’ lists injury prevention exercises as a key part of the off season, especially in the case of young athletes.
But what if you have already sustained a painful injury? Fortunately, there are a number of methods that you can use to manage the pain, including the use of meditation. In this article, we will be looking at the value of meditation as a natural and effective means of managing pain during injury recovery.
In a review published by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, it was found that mindfulness intervention has grown exponentially within the field of physical therapy. This is based on the philosophy that a holistic present experience can positively impact both mental and physical health. The study found that mindfulness could help those experiencing “future- or past-focused thoughts that produce anxiety” and focus on a more positive outcome. For example, those suffering from injury can direct their attention to a future where they are injury free rather than concentrating on their current situation.
Of course, meditation is one of the ways that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can be undertaken. Meditation, specifically, has been found by researchers from the University of Kent to help athletes deal with a severe injury that prevented them from playing in their respective sports. In the study, a group of athletes were split into two, with one group continuing their normal rehabilitation while the other practiced meditation sessions. The latter group was then found to have a higher pain tolerance and reduced stress at the end of the study.
Medical News Today also reports that MBSR can be effective in relieving chronic pain, which is associated with long-term injuries. The most common way to deal with chronic pain is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), however this doesn’t always work for all patients. Eve-ling Khoo from the Clinical Epidemiology Department at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute found that alongside CBT, “an additional solution may be to offer patients [MBSR] since it shows promise in improving pain severity and reducing pain interference and psychological distress.”
This only serves to show that dealing with pain is a deeply psychological matter, underscoring the need fr more research to be done on how pain affects the mind. This has led Maryville University to highlight how there is a high demand for psychologists who understand the connections between mental health and a person’s ability to function effectively. These new found connections will likely lead to more research in how holistic practices can help those managing injuries and chronic pain.
In conclusion, meditation does have a role to play in helping people recover from injury. For anyone looking to better manage their pain and recover from injury faster, incorporating meditation into their treatment will help with the psychological part of the recovery process.
Post written for aclstrong.com by Lily Scott (July 2019)