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Kylan Schilling Brings Meditation to Work Against Back Pain

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There was an interesting, though in many ways dispiriting, article published several days ago in Britain’s Independent paper.  The Independent commented on the fact that more men now are suffering from back pain at an earlier age than ever before.  These are findings coming from a study made by the British Chiropractic Association.

The truly dispiriting part of the study is the fact that a major reason why men are suffering from back pain at an earlier page is because of our sedentary lifestyles (the article uses the term ‘lazy’, but I prefer to employ the more politically correct ‘sedentary’ adjective).

It’s no surprise that we have more sedentary lifestyles than thirty or forty years ago.  It’s also little surprise that this lifestyle has taken a toll on our general health and well being.    

Part of that toll involves chronic back pain. 

Of course, there are many reasons, other than lifestyle, for why individuals develop chronic back pain.  According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic back pain.  Reasons for the development of the condition include a traumatic injury, bone degeneration, sciatica, and even underlying conditions such as infections and tumors.

It’s important to consider not just what causes chronic back pain, but also how to help those who have to deal with the condition day-in and day-out. 

It turns out that meditation, and not opiates and narcotics, can play a significant role in relieving chronic back pain.

How so?

Pain can be broken down into two types – a primary or acute pain and a secondary pain.  Primary or acute pain is the direct pain experienced from, for example, being poked by a pencil or cutting one’s finger with a knife.  On the other hand, secondary pain relates to all the emotions, thoughts and feelings associated with that pain.  Secondary pain is a force that can be just as debilitating as primary pain, if not more so.  It also plays a fundamental role in conditions like chronic back pain.

Regularly meditating can help in all avenues of pain, primary and secondary.

A case example.

Canadian Kylan Schilling didn’t develop chronic back pain as a result of a sedentary lifestyle or because of a genetic condition like sciatica.  No, when Kylan Schilling was six, he was involved in a serious car accident.  After the accident, Kylan had to relearn how to walk; he stayed for months in a hospital recovering, and he had to endure a number of follow-up surgeries to his foot.

Also as a result of his accident, when he was an adult, Kylan began suffering from pain in his back. It affected almost all aspects of his life – his mood, his relationships, and it eventually forced him to change careers.

However, meditation turned out to be instrumental to tempering Kylan’s chronic pain.

Studies have demonstrated that meditation can dramatically change how the brain processes pain.  A recent in-depth Atlantic article on the subject discusses how meditation can change the four parts of the brain that process pain.  More scientifically, by meditating, activity in the primary somatosensory cortex can be decreased, while increasing activity in the three other parts of the brain, thus reducing pain.

In Kylan Schilling’s case, daily meditation freed him from a terrible condition.

“It sounds dramatic, but I can’t imagine how unhappy I would be now if I hadn’t discovered mediation.  I’m not entirely pain-free.  But, regularly meditating has significantly decreased my stress levels, which has allowed me to manage my back pain going forward.”


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