Mindfulness meditation may help reduce chronic pain, according to research findings. A recent study found that mindfulness meditation may help lessen the severity and impact that chronic pain has on everyday life, along with improving the distress that chronic pain brings.
The researchers suggest that the use of mindfulness meditation is a good alternative for patients who cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) did not help. CBT is often used for patients suffering from chronic pain, but isn’t useful for at least one in five patients.
For the study, the researchers looked through databases to uncover relevant clinical trials on the effectiveness of CBT or mindfulness-based stress reduction for treatment for chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as experiencing pain for at least three months.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation focusing on moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and immediate environment. By reducing stress, the aim is to improve coping mechanisms to living with pain.
The researchers selected 21 studies that involved nearly 2,000 participants.
The analysis revealed that both CBT and mindfulness meditation were effective at treating chronic pain by improving physical function. They were also effective at lessening pain severity and reducing depression associated with living in pain.
The researchers did note that not many of the studies they looked at directly compared CBT with mindfulness meditation, so it is too early to suggest that one mode of treatment is more successful than the other. It does reveal that either treatment is effective and if one doesn’t work for you, there is always the other as an option.
The researchers concluded, “While CBT is considered to be the preferred psychological intervention of [chronic pain], not all patients with [it] experience a clinically significant treatment response. Although a number of recommendations have been proposed to improve CBT for patients with chronic pain, an additional solution may be to offer patients mindfulness-based stress reduction since it shows promise in improving pain severity and reducing pain interference and psychological distress.”
Also read: Simple Tips to Prevent Aches and Pains