Approximately 100 million Americans experience chronic pain which costs billions of dollars in healthcare costs each year. With monetary costs come public health costs as the rise in opioid abuse suggests greater challenges still for sufferers of chronic pain. Now people are talking about possible replacements for opioid drugs through meditation and mindfulness practices that focus on the mind, body, spirit connection.

Meditation and Opioid Production

During a recent study, participants were placed in four test groups: meditation plus naloxone, on-meditation control plus naloxone, meditation plus saline placebo, and non-meditation control plus placebo. Participants were asked to rate their pain on a sliding scale based on heat applied to the participant’s skin. The conclusion of the study found people in the meditation group who received naloxone experienced pain ratings reduced by roughly 24% over the others. The measurement demonstrates that when the body’s opioid receptors are chemically blocked, meditation is able to be significantly reduce pain by using a completely different pathway. Participants in the meditation group who received the placebo-saline injection also had pain ratings reduced by around 21%. Participants in the non-meditation control groups reported increased amounts of pain, whether or not they received naloxone or placebo-saline injection.

What Meditation Does

Something unique definitely happens within the body through meditation. Meditation can help the body deal with pain and cope with what is happening. Particularly for those who have built up tolerance to opiate-based drugs and are seeking a non-addictive way to reduce pain. Meditation itself does not fully reduce painful symptoms but meditation can positively impact people who suffer from chronic pain and may be used in conjunction with other traditional drug therapies to enhance pain relief without producing addictive side effects.

It is good to build a repertoire of things to try when dealing with chronic pain. Opioids can be highly addictive and not always healthy long term. However, there are supplemental ways meditation and mindfulness can support pain relief. It is always best to consult with a treating physician to find out what is best for an individual’s circumstances and health prior to trying new treatments including alternative therapies such as mindfulness based practices.

Cypress Lakes provides a space to explore possibilities of what it means to live a holistic lifestyle focused on the mind, body, spirit connection. We will help you grow and focus on areas to improve such as mindfulness practices that will help your recovery as well get you the right medication and therapy to help you get sober. We are here to help with whatever your individual needs are in treatment. Call us to get started. 866-217-2636