Reducing Chronic Pain Through Meditation

A great article came out last week in The Atlantic detailing the therapeutic effects of meditation.  The article, written by Brian Steiner, discusses one woman’s familiar journey with persistent pain and then delves deeper into how meditation alleviates chronic pain both physiologically and psychologically. Particularly, meditation alters the level of activation in the primary somatosensory cortex, anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and prefrontal cortex of the brain.  The primary somatosensory cortex is the precise part of the brain involved in pain processing; whereas, the anterior cingulate cortex controls emotional responses. The prefrontal cortex is involved in social behavior and decision making. Meditation reduces pain “by decreasing activity in the primary somatosensory cortex, the pain processing area, and increasing activity in the three other regions” writes Brian Steiner. In short, meditation and pain both alter sensory, cognitive, and emotional aspects of our brain. Meditation can improve our cognitive control over nociceptive processing, help take emotional command over pain, and increase focus on the present. If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend this interesting and enlightening article.


Tell me what you think? Has meditation improved your ability to cope with chronic pain?


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Good information. Lucky me I recently found your
    blog by accident (stumbleupon). I’ve saved as a favorite for later!

    1. Happy that you found the article on meditation useful! Thanks for the feedback.

  2. I’ve only ever tried one type and am new to it. It’s yoga nidra which is yogi deep sleep where one stays awake yet asleep I know complicated. However it’s been great every time I do it my pain is less it doesn’t cure it but it helps somewhat x

    1. Hi Justine! How are you feeling? I have never tried that and I have only heard of it in passing. But it does help? I am fairly new to the meditation world but I have tried mindfulness after I received another diagnosis on my back in 2011. I am thinking about getting more involved in it after I tried dry-point needling this week. Would love to hear more about your experience with yoga nidra. Lots of healing and hugs to you.

      1. I have some more to listen to on holiday this week so will let you know x

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