Can meditation decrease chronic pain?

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.

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Codeine could increase users' sensitivity to pain

Sep 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

Brains transform remote threats into anxiety

Nov 21, 2014

Modern life can feel defined by low-level anxiety swirling through society. Continual reports about terrorism and war. A struggle to stay on top of family finances and hold onto jobs. An onslaught of news ...

Mental disorders due to permanent stress

Nov 21, 2014

Activated through permanent stress, immune cells will have a damaging effect on and cause changes to the brain. This may result in mental disorders. The effects of permanent stress on the immune system are studied by the ...

Could there be a bright side to depression?

Nov 21, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—A group of researchers studying the roots of depression has developed a test that leads them closer to the idea that depression may actually be an adaptation meant to help people cope with ...

User comments

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.