First Steps Recovery's Mindfulness Therapy for Chronic Pain

First Steps Recovery’s Mindfulness Therapy for Chronic Pain

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Chronic pain is a very complex disorder to cope with. Finding the right facility for treatment and therapy can aid clients with their challenges in coping with chronic pain. For optimal healing, it is important to have a combination of clinical and holistic treatments to connect the body and mind. One treatment for healing chronic pain is mindfulness therapy. Mindfulness therapy strengthens the mind-to-body connection and helps clients manage their pain through unconventional means.

At First Steps Recovery, mindfulness therapy is encouraged for clients with chronic pain. First Steps Recovery understands that pain can have complex roots that involve both the body and mind. For that reason, mindfulness therapy can be a first step toward healing for those with chronic pain. Having a full range and variety of services allows clients to fully understand their chronic pain, identify the root causes of their chronic pain, and make healthy choices to reduce their pain without medication. This is what is called a whole-person approach.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than several months, usually somewhere between three and six months. In a 2019 survey, about 20.4% of United States adults reported having chronic pain (pain every day) for the past three months. Furthermore, 7.4% of adults reported that they had high-impact chronic pain that limited their daily activities for three months. 

Pain is more commonly experienced among older adults. Military veterans are another group that often experiences chronic pain. Lower back pain and osteoarthritis are typical examples of chronic pain. Other examples of chronic pain are neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and headaches.

Causes of Chronic Pain

Underlying health concerns can cause chronic pain. Surgery, injury, and nervous system issues (neuropathic pain) can all influence one’s pain. The following conditions can cause a person to experience pain:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Vulvodynia

Chronic pain can have a detrimental effect on one’s quality of life and productivity. It can also hamper other areas of daily life including the ability to move about, get adequate sleep, and remain calm and upbeat. When insomnia, depression, anxiety, and immobility become evident, it is important to seek treatment and partake in a variety of healing approaches. Both psychological and physical approaches to healing are recommended.

What Is Mindfulness Therapy at First Steps Recovery?

As mentioned before, mindfulness therapy is a holistic option offered at First Steps Recovery that can be effective for pain. Mindfulness therapy is a form of talk therapy in which clients identify and evaluate aspects of themselves and the world around them. Through these sessions, clients gain a greater awareness of their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and their external environment. Meanwhile, they improve their ability to analyze their negative thoughts in order to prevent these thought patterns. Meditation practices help achieve these mindfulness goals. 

Mindfulness meditation originates from ancient Eastern meditation practices. In mindfulness meditation, the person pays attention to the present moment with an open mind and heart while inviting curiosity and acceptance. Paying undivided attention to the present moment allows one to fully embrace the present and reframe it in a non-judgmental way.

While mindfulness therapy is often recommended for clients coping with substance abuse, those with chronic pain can also greatly benefit. From consistent mindfulness practice, clients gain the ability to detect problematic behaviors, counter negative thinking, and cope with cravings or other destructive habits. 

How Can Mindfulness Therapy Benefit Clients Coping With Chronic Pain?

As mentioned before, clients coping with chronic pain can greatly benefit from mindfulness therapy. This is just one of many holistic approaches to care that can be essential in developing healthy coping mechanisms. First Steps Recovery prioritizes a combination of care for those struggling with pain. This whole-person approach allows clients to learn a variety of skills and apply them to their own lives. For clients with chronic pain, engaging in these healing therapies helps them slowly become less reliant on medication. Clients can begin to take full responsibility for their healing process as they start to feel more in control of their experience.

Mindfulness therapy and mindfulness meditation can help improve chronic pain symptoms, mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, and pain-related drug use. Clients coping with chronic pain are often prescribed medication to ease their symptoms. However, this can be risky for those clients as substance use disorders (SUDs) can result from consistent prescription drug use. It can be important to decrease the dependency on drugs in order to live a fulfilling life in one’s control. 

A Research-Backed Therapy

A research review published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that clients with chronic pain have experienced the following benefits as a result of mindfulness practices:

  • Reduced back pain
  • Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Less musculoskeletal pain
  • Decreased pain in general
  • Improved pain acceptance
  • Enhanced quality of life
  • Better daily functioning

Thus, participating in holistic services like First Steps Recovery’s mindfulness therapy helps those with chronic pain relieve both mental and physical symptoms. Engaging in these practices can help clients prevent addictive behavior and lead to an overall improvement in their quality of life.

At First Steps Recovery, we understand that chronic pain is a very complex disorder that often causes clients to rely on prescription drugs. This reliance, though, can lead to addiction. So, it is important for clients to engage in both clinical and holistic therapies in order to embark on a whole-person healing journey. Chronic pain can affect one’s mental health alongside physical health, so being able to tend to all aspects of the disorder is crucial. Mindfulness therapy is one holistic therapy service available at our facility. This therapy helps clients ground themselves in and reframe the present moment to acquire more control over their thoughts and feelings. For more information on mindfulness therapy for chronic pain, call (844) 489-0836.

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