Free Press Journal

Mindful meditation beats chronic back pain sans painkillers


Washington D.C: Could the practice of mindfulness meditation provide drug-free chronic low back pain relief? A new study says yes.

The research conducted by Group Health Research Institute showed that quieting the mind may be a non-drug alternative to help decrease chronic low back pain.

Researchers compared a specific kind of meditation called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) along with cognitive behavioral therapy, a kind of talk therapy, to see if these interventions might alleviate pain.

The results were encouraging, said study leader Daniel Cherkin, adding that the results suggest that training the brain to respond differently to pain signals may be more effective and last longer than traditional physical therapy and medication.

Training in MBSR led to meaningful improvements in functioning and chronic low back pain at six months and one year in Mind-Body Approaches to Pain, a randomized controlled trial involving nearly 350 patients at Group Health.

Cherkin noted that greater understanding and acceptance of the mind-body connection will provide patients and clinicians with new opportunities for improving the lives of persons with chronic back pain and other challenging conditions that are not always effectively managed with physical treatments alone.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.