Using Mindfulness to Manage Chronic Pain & Improve Sexual Function

Using Mindfulness to Manage Chronic Pain & Improve Sexual Function


What's your relationship with pain? While some people like the adrenaline rush and muscle pain during their workout sesh, for quite a few of us, pain isn't really something we're given much of a choice on. Once we hit a certain age, pain becomes that unwanted stalker checking up on you when you least expect it. And we’re not just talking cramps!

Recent studies by the International Association for the Study of Pain give some big numbers. They peg 1 in 5 adults as suffering from pain, with over 1 in 10 adults consistently diagnosed with chronic pain each year.

Regretfully, this has also proven to affect what goes down in the bedroom. While we can’t exactly prescribe a miracle pill for permanently solving chronic pain, there are other options like “mindfulness” exercises.

More than being about some wishy-washy inspirational term, mindfulness refers to something more concrete. It’s about rewiring your brain to think more positively and productively in how you manage future setbacks like pain.

This can really come in handy when you’re dealing with problems like erectile dysfunction (ED) or some other problems in the bedroom.

 

Mind-Body Connection: Relationship Between Pain and Psychological Well-being

According to a study by the Ochsner Journal, depression tends to factor into 5% of the current general population. However, among noted respondents with chronic pain, over 30-45% of them have reported experiencing depression.

These reports aren’t exactly surprising, since pain naturally affects mood and behaviour. So let’s look at it from the other angle.

The same study shows that 75% of patients with depression reported pain. But that’s not all.

According to research cited by a paper in the Annals of General Psychiatry, tailored interventions with positive psychology led to improved pain control and decrease in pain. This same research further mentioned two other studies which drew associations with arthritis reduction.

So, if there really is something in the idea of positive psychology affecting pain positively, then maybe there really is something to be said about mindfulness being able to affect issues like premature ejaculation (PE), and other problematic sex-related dysfunctions.

 

Using Mindfulness to Manage Chronic Pain & Improve Sexual Function

Understanding the Psychological Impact of Chronic Pain on Sexual Intimacy

If you’re experiencing chronic pain, you’re likely to take steps to relieve the pain and the depression associated with it. Painkillers and antidepressants can help manage the pain in the short term. But these can come with certain side effects like lack of feeling and yes, erectile dysfunction.

Some studies we’ve looked through have reported that sexual dysfunction is a common side effect of practically all antidepressants. The studies also note how these effects are often underreported despite how commonly they occur.

Further statistics from another research journal point out other psychological factors that may affect intimacy and cause sexual dysfunction. They included actual pain and the fear of pain during intimacy, as well as physical limitations.

The same research cited a study conducted in Israel, where a high percentage of respondents suffering with chronic pain also had sexual dysfunction. The study also found no differences within the demographics for people with dysfunction and those without.

 

How Mindfulness Practices Can Alleviate Chronic Pain

Is mindfulness really an effective tool for dealing with the effects of chronic pain?

Studies would suggest that mindfulness has allowed respondents to change the way the brain processes and presents pain. Around 33% of respondents who underwent meditation reported a decline in heat-induced pain.

Their findings suggested that mindfulness meditation allowed users to reduce the intensity of the pain by rewiring the pain processing part of the brain.

Mindfulness Techniques You Can Do to Alleviate Pain and Enhance Sexual Function

Please note that the things we’ll discuss here should not be taken as a substitute for any medical doctor’s advice. If you really think you’re suffering from chronic pain, it’s best to seek out healthcare professionals’ advice first.

Think of the following suggestions as complementary tips that should help get you back on the path of wellness. Feel free to pick and choose which ones you like and which ones don’t work for you.

Embracing the Present Moment

When you embrace your present circumstances, you open yourself up to the possibilities of “what’s happening now.” Being mindful in the present also allows you to take in and consciously remember how you feel during your daily routine (yes, that includes sexy time) which will be important when it's time to decide what you would like to repeat or improve later on.

Meditation and Breathwork

 As we’ve mentioned above, mindfulness meditation has a proven way of helping rewire how your body processes pain. We recommend combining this with continuous breathwork exercises in a quiet and cool part of your house or workspace for minutes at a time.

Body Scan (No, not the MRI kind)

This exercise will have you lying down and focusing on the various parts of your body. Participants should take a few minutes to really move their hands across their bodies, touching everything they see and don’t. Try to find the points of leftover tension in your body and gradually try to calm and relax each one of them.

Mindful Masturbation

Mindful masturbation is more about using your whole body and senses, trying to find new ways of finding arousal. Maybe it could come in the form of an old fantasy you’ve thought of before, or using a new toy you’ve been curious about. Basically, it’s all about broadening your horizons in arousal. This will come really handy when it’s time to get to the bedroom and you’re desperately finding ways to get it up and perform on demand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Does mindfulness help with chronic pain? 

There are findings that mindfulness can indeed help in alleviating pain. Mindfulness meditation technique, for example, has been found to reduce pain significantly among patients in both clinical and experimental settings. However, measuring a person’s pain level and mindfulness level can be a challenge. Further studies are required to say that mindfulness is completely effective in reducing chronic pain.

Does mindfulness help with sexual function? 

Recent studies have shown that mindfulness can help with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Mindfulness exercises help men get out of their heads and tune into their bodies as they feel more present in the moment.

Is sexual function related to chronic pain?

Yes, if you experience chronic pain, your sexual function declines significantly based on several studies. The body can’t respond to arousal if it is in pain. Pain medications also result in sexual dysfunctions.

Use “Mindfulness” Techniques with Mindfulness

 In a nutshell, embracing mindfulness techniques can work wonders in soothing your pain and turbocharging your sexual function. However, while mindfulness can be a game-changer, tackling chronic pain is like navigating uncharted waters. Here's the kicker: to truly hit the bullseye, it's a smart move to team up with a professional who has expertise in both mental health and chronic pain management.

Men’s Health Clinic (MHC) is a top-notch healthcare provider who knows the ins and outs of chronic pain and male sexual health. We offer tailor-made health strategies that fit like a glove. Our treatments are comprehensive, supporting men from consultation to aftercare. We assign managers for each client to ensure a seamless healthcare service.

Want to get started? Answer this two-minute questionnaire if you’re dealing with chronic pain and sexual dysfunctions.

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