How to Deal with Pain While Sitting

If you find yourself sitting in the same position for an extended period of time, it’s not uncommon to experience physical pain or discomfort. Whether it’s an ache in your back, knee pain, shoulder twinges, or even pins and needles in your foot, the list of complaints can be endless. The longer you sit, the more intense the discomfort may become, and the stronger the temptation to constantly shift or fidget to avoid it. However, there are ways to deal with pain while sitting that can help alleviate your discomfort.

Instead of instantly shifting your position or struggling to ignore your pain, try practicing gently expanding your awareness to include the discomfort. While continuing to focus on your breath or other object of meditation, acknowledge the pain and explore it with a mindful and compassionate attention. By doing so, you can begin to soften and relax in relation to the pain, which may ultimately help diminish it.

It’s important to also pay attention to how your mind responds to the discomfort. Does it create stories about the pain, such as thinking you’re not sitting correctly or that something is wrong with your back or knees? Does it intensify the discomfort by judging it as bad or undesirable, causing you to tense up even more? By opening your awareness to both the pain and your mind’s response, you can gain insight into how to better cope with it.

Sitting meditation provides a wonderful opportunity to experiment with new ways of relating to suffering and discomfort in all areas of your life. By learning to navigate pain while sitting, you can apply these techniques to other situations and ultimately move beyond them. It’s important to note that while it’s beneficial to explore discomfort, you also have the option of moving when the pain becomes too intense. Just be mindful and aware as you make any adjustments, finding a balance between opening up to the discomfort and resisting it.

However, there are certain types of pain that may require immediate attention. If you experience shooting pain, pain that starts as soon as you begin sitting, or sharp pain in your knees, it may be best to try a different sitting position. It’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments accordingly to prevent any further discomfort or potential injury.

In conclusion, dealing with pain while sitting is a common challenge, but it doesn’t have to hinder your practice. By expanding your awareness to include the discomfort, exploring it with mindfulness and compassion, and paying attention to your mind’s response, you can begin to find relief. Remember to find a balance between opening up to the discomfort and making necessary adjustments, and always listen to your body’s signals for when it’s time to try a different sitting position. Through practice and patience, you can develop the skills to manage pain while sitting and enhance your overall meditation experience.