Could Meditation Help Treat Chronic Pain?

Could Meditation Help Treat Chronic Pain?



Pain can be related to stress when we focus too much on the outside world. Shifting the focus from the outside world to the inner mind and body has piqued the interest of the scientific research community in recent years, resulting in hundreds of studies conducted on the use of meditation as a treatment for chronic pain. As a result, meditation practices have gained respect as a legitimate alternative chronic pain management treatment.

Meditation For the Pain Patient  

One study conducted by the *Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the effects of meditation and yoga training on pain levels. The study focused on patients experiencing chronic back pain. The participants received 8 weeks of meditation and yoga training for 2 hours a week.

At the end of the study, participants who practiced meditation or “self-centered” mindful thinking reported substantially less physical limitation than before receiving “meditation training”. More than 40% of study participants said their pain was less bothersome.

Practice Meditation

High stress and anxiety can cause our bodies to tense up, making pain worse. To help alleviate pain and stress, try taking just 10-15 minutes a day to be alone, practice breathing deeply and focus on your body.

If you’re new to meditation and would like to try it out, UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center website is a great place to start. It offers 8 guided meditations and breathing sessions (click to access), each lasting no more than 20 minutes. 

*Source: Journal of the American Medical Association. Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain. Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD1,2,3; Karen J. Sherman, PhD1,4; Benjamin H. Balderson, PhD1; et al. . 2016;315(12):1240-1249


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