So-called mindfulness-based stress reduction helps to reduce chronic pain and diminishes depression, according to a recent study involving researchers from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest at Western University. Yoga and meditation play a special role in this. The study was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Yoga and meditation seem to contribute to significant pain relief in chronic pain and to improve the mood of the affected person in depression. Millions of people worldwide could benefit from them.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by chronic pain, which is also associated with high healthcare costs. In the current study, the researchers tried to find new ways to effectively treat chronic pain. The participants in the study received intensive instruction in mindfulness meditation and hatha yoga over a period of eight weeks.
The problem with chronic pain is that for many people it never completely disappears and is therefore part of their daily life. Here, the researchers explain, it should be tried to reach a level of pain that is controllable for the persons concerned. Yoga and meditation are very helpful for this.
Treating chronic pain effectively?
The study found that mindful meditation and yoga lead to significant improvements in the perception of pain, depression and disability. At the end of the course, the results of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), a standard measure of depression, were reduced by 3.7 points on a 27-point scale.
Most people in the study benefited from yoga and meditation to relieve their chronic pain. A total of 89 percent of participants reported that the program helped them find ways to better manage their pain.
In addition, “chronic pain often goes hand in hand with depression,” explains Dr. Cynthia Marske in a press release from the American Osteopathic Association. This is where mindfulness meditation and yoga can help restore both mental and physical health, and they can be effective alone or in combination with other treatments, the expert adds.
What to do about chronic pain?
The results of the new study are consistent with earlier research that had already shown evidence that mindfulness-based stress reduction can be a useful adjunctive treatment for chronic pain, while also counteracting depression. As effective non-pharmaceutical treatments, “meditation and yoga may be a viable option for people seeking relief from chronic pain,” Dr. Marske emphasized. (as)
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