Can meditation decrease chronic pain?

October 23, 2013

A randomized controlled study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics has investigated the role of a special form of meditation (mindfulness) in Chronic pain.

Chronic involves hypervigilance for pain-related stimuli. Selective attention to pain-related stimuli, known as pain (AB), can exacerbate , prolong suffering, and undermine quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine if a multimodal mindfulness-oriented could significantly reduce pain AB among chronic pain patients receiving opioid analgesics. : A total of 67 chronic pain patients were randomized to an 8-week Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) intervention or a social support group intervention and began treatment. A dot probe task was used to measure pain AB.

Primary outcomes were pain AB scores for cues presented for 2,000 and 200 ms. Prior to intervention, participants exhibited a significant bias towards pain-related cues presented for 2,000 ms, but no bias for cues presented for 200 ms. A statistically significant time × intervention condition interaction was observed for 2,000 ms pain AB, such that participants in MORE evidenced significantly reduced posttreatment pain AB relative to pretreatment levels, whereas no significant pre-post treatment changes in pain AB were observed for support group participants. Decreases in pain AB were associated with increased perceived control over pain and attenuated reactivity to distressing thoughts and emotions.: Study findings provide the first indication that a mindfulness-oriented intervention may reduce pain AB among adults suffering from chronic pain.

Given the magnitude of chronic pain in postindustrial societies, coupled with the dramatic escalation in prescription opioid misuse, future studies should evaluate MORE as a nonpharmacological means of addressing factors linked with chronic pain.

Explore further: Study shows COPD is associated with significant and persistent pain

More information: Garland, E. and Howard, M. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement Reduces Pain Attentional Bias in Chronic Pain Patients, Psychother Psychosom 2013;82:311-318. DOI: 10.1159/000348868

Related Stories

Codeine could increase users' sensitivity to pain

September 12, 2013

Using large and frequent doses of the pain-killer codeine may actually produce heightened sensitivity to pain, without the same level of relief offered by morphine, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

Recommended for you

Men more likely to be seen as 'creative thinkers'

September 28, 2015

People tend to associate the ability to think creatively with stereotypical masculine qualities, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings ...

Babies time their smiles to make their moms smile in return

September 23, 2015

Why do babies smile when they interact with their parents? Could their smiles have a purpose? In the Sept. 23 issue of PLOS ONE, a team of computer scientists, roboticists and developmental psychologists confirm what most ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.