Is there a cure for Chronic Pelvic Pain? Read here. The definition of cure suggests there is a single pathway that will relieve all symptoms every single case.
In a recent BBC article titled Prostatitis: ‘How I meditated away chronic pelvic pain’ Henri Astier honestly, openly and bravely discussed his recovery from chronic pelvic pain. Henri found hope from reading Tim Parks “Teach us to sit still.” In which Tim describes how he used Vipassana meditation to overcome his chronic pelvic pain.
Henri would spend up to an hour each day meditating. “Both at home and on public transport.”
For Henri “the solution lay in calming a restless mind.” Our body and minds are connected. We calm help to bring about calm in one when we bring about calm in the other.
Meditation helped Henri to keep his fears in perspective. I am firm believer that our reaction to pain symptoms can dictate our pain experience. Using meditation to calm our nervous systems when do experience symptoms (and as part of a daily routine) can be incredibly beneficial
In addition to the meditation Henri also used swimming and stretches to bring about significant relief of his symptoms. As a patient of mine he received a bespoke and progressive battery of activities to keep his recovery moving forward
As a former acute and chronic pelvic pain sufferer I too found meditative style breathing incredibly beneficial in my recovery from chronic pelvic pain. It was not THE key to my recovery but part of my adopted tool kit of lifestyle changes
Expert opinion on recovery from Chronic Pelvic Pain
Bevis Nathan is a specialist in pain and post-traumatic disorders, using Osteopathy, Somatic Experiencing, Breathing-and Affect-Retraining based in the UK; who agrees that abdominal breathing can drastically help to improve symptoms of CP and CPPS.
“Diaphragmatic breathing mimics deep sleep breathing, which promotes a relaxation response by various routes. The relaxation response as a whole will facilitate pelvic floor muscle relaxation as part of a global parasympathetic picture. Abdominal in-breath puts a gentle pressure on the pelvic floor that enhances one’s ability to become aware of it.
In addition we can use the soothing influence of music to assist this calming of the nervous system
Dr Don Knox is a senior lecturer in Audio Technology at Glasgow Caledonian University. His main research interests include audio and music analysis and classification, music emotion, and music psychology, with a focus on developing multidisciplinary research into music technology for health and wellbeing.
“Listening to music can be an effective part of managing chronic pain. Studies show it can reduce perception of pain, anxiety and stress, improve pain tolerance levels, and result in a reduction of drug requirements. The ‘most effective’ music is generally positive, low arousal and bright. Music can distract the patient from persistent pain, increasing feelings of control and improving mood. ”
I want to reach out again to Henri and thank him for his desire to raise the awareness of chronic pelvic pain in men. Men do suffer with chronic pelvic pain too. And, can recover from pelvic pain too!
Will meditation cure my chronic pelvic pain? 5 points to consider
1.) Meditation is not about becoming a Zen Buddhist monk or learning the art of the Jedi. It is not about reaching enlightenment or learning to levitate. The initial stages of learning meditation style techniques is simply about giving your system a chance to calm down.
3.) Make it accessible. You should be able to carry out your practise anywhere (within reason.) Learning meditation techniques in sitting with closed eyes for example is great for commuting. Plug in your headphones and use the aids mentioned above to welcome a more relaxed state of body and mind in a 10 to 20 minute meditation.
4.) Don’t stress about it. It is called a meditation or mindfulness practice because it takes practice. It has been surmised (wrongly or rightly) that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to master any skill. Stick with it, some days/times will be easier, some not so. This is the same for all aspects in life in their infancy. I have been meditating for 20 years and I have yet to ‘master’ it. Start off small and realistic (10 minutes) one to two times per day. Build on this over time
5.) Use it in conjunction with an holistic recovery programme. Early stage recovery programs should aim at soothing an often overly excited nervous system. I teach my patients that meditation/mindfulness/quiet time can form part of a successfully targeted and bespoke recovery program This is best applied through a therapeutic alliance with honest, open guidance from both patient and therapist. Click here for more details on my approach