The study, published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, found that a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course effectively helped participants with chronic pain.
The course included detailed instruction in both mindfulness meditation and hatha yoga, over the course of an eight-week period. They also learned about increasing awareness of the self and the immediate moment.
This study was conducted in a rural area where access to affordable care is a common problem, making relatively simple and low-cost mindfulness interventions ideal pain management aids.
Researchers found that patients’ perceptions of their conditions shifted, with lower reported feelings of pain, depression, and disability following the course. “Chronic pain often goes hand-in-hand with depression,” explains Cynthia Marske, DO, an osteopathic physician and director of graduate medical education at the Community Health Clinics of Benton and Linn County. “Mindfulness-based meditation and yoga can help restore both a patient’s mental and physical health and can be effective alone or in combination with other treatments such as therapy and medication.”
The troubles of chronic pain extend beyond the pain itself, so finding a method that aids in both decreasing pain perception but also in improving mental health is doubly promising.
However she’s quick to explain that “healing” and “curing” are inherently not the same thing: “Curing means eliminating disease, while healing refers to becoming more whole,” she explains. “With chronic pain, healing involves learning to live with a level of pain this is manageable. For this, yoga and meditation can be very beneficial.”
This content was originally published here.