In The Mindfulness Solution to Pain, the authors modify Jon Kabat-Zinn's original mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) program to create a new program they call mindfulness based chronic pain management (MBCPM). This book will provide a clear, class-by-class breakdown of the MBCPM program, which has evolved over the last five years of clinical use.
From the outset, the authors explain the science behind why the mind is so important in managing pain, and describe functional MRI studies that will interest the reader immediately. Initial chapters introduce the readers to how the mind processes pain, the role of their biography and genetics, the physiology of their fight and flight responses, which in chronic pain sufferers have become chronic but usually not perceived by the sufferer, and the role of these chronic responses in impairing healing, sleep, and other important bodily functions. There will be an overview of the usual clinical interventions for chronic pain, such as procedures, medications and other alternative therapies. The rationale for working with the mind in addition to, or instead of, the other interventions, or after they have failed, will be emphasized.
Readers are introduced to the concepts of mindfulness and meditation. Movement meditations will be discussed early, as some may not manage still meditation poses. Readers are coached to do five-minute meditations to start with. For the first week of the program they will be asked to look at factors, which increase or bring on their pain, factors that are neutral, and factors that help it. They will start to pace themselves.
After that comes practice with becoming aware of physical stressors, starting with sleep hygiene, and meditations designed to promote sleep. Sleep deprivation and disrupted sleep cycles are major reasons for poor coping and healing. Sleep is also a major factor in migraines and dizziness. In all, regular practice of these techniques offers a good chance of quality-of-life improvement for chronic pain sufferers.