We already knew that the ancient practice of mindfulness (often associated, and rightly so, with meditation) was linked to improving chronic pain… and that was exciting news indeed. However, did you know that it could also help you to avoid an injury or a painful strain in the first place?
A new study published in the journal, Arthritis Care & Research, surveyed people who had experienced acute lower back pain with regard to the circumstances surrounding their injuries. The analysis involved 999 people across 300 clinics in Sydney, Australia, who had reported a lower back injury or pain in 2011 or 2012.
Results of the analysis revealed that just being distracted during an activity significantly upped one’s risk of an acute lower back injury, as did being tired. Being in an awkward position while doing manual work was found to increase one’s risk of lower back pain by a multiplier of eight. Talk about the importance of posture.
Study author Manuela L. Ferreira wrote, “understanding which modifiable risk factors lead to low back pain is an important step toward controlling a condition that affects so many worldwide. Our findings enhance knowledge of low back pain triggers and will assist the development of new prevention programs that can reduce suffering from this potentially disabling condition.”
How does mindfulness fit into this, you ask? Well, if we’re talking about distractions and awkward positioning contributing greatly to lower back pain risk, then mindfulness is the perfect remedy. The very essence of mindfulness is to be aware of what you are doing, and to live in the present moment.
If we cultivate this state of consistent awareness, we become much less subject to distractions, and more able to effectively perform the task at hand. We are also less likely to twist ourselves into uncomfortable and potentially dangerous positions, because when we are mindful, we are aware of the way our bodies are set, while at rest and in motion.
Mindfulness is a skill that can be cultivated in many ways – any activity can be done mindfully – but one great place to start is by seeking out a guided meditation session in your area. There are many different types – some denominational, some not – many are free, and even by searching you’re sure to learn a lot.
To get you started, check out our overview of some types of guided meditation. Focus on ones that cultivate and instruct in the principles of mindfulness – you’ll find it is a common tenet among various types of meditation.
Mindfulness has also been found to help lower blood pressure, prevent burnout in medical students, and even play a role in improving some symptoms of dementia. This is one practice that is definitely worth it to your body and mind to cultivate.
-The Alternative Daily