Mindfulness eases chronic pain says new research

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mindfulness, chronic pain, CBT pain, pain therapy, arthritis therapyWe could all do with a little more mindfulness in our lives, but people with chronic pain should prioritise the technique following a study published in Evidence Based Mental Health.

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on moment to moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the immediate environment. It can be used to help people develop ways of coping more effectively with pain.

A research team looked at the effects of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or mindfulness-based stress reduction for the treatment of chronic pain (ie pain that lasted for at least three months) in 21 clinical trials involving almost 2,000 people.

The conditions causing pain were largely musculoskeletal. Both mindfulness and CBT improved physical functioning and lessened pain and depression compared to usual care, and there were no important differences between the two techniques.

“While CBT is considered to be the preferred psychological intervention of [chronic pain], not all patients with [it] experience a clinically significant treatment response,” the group explains. “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.”

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