A mindfulness program appears to be beneficial for patients with chronic pain, according to a study published in the April issue of Pain Medicine.
Peter la Cour, Ph.D., from the Copenhagen Multidisciplinary Pain Center, and Marian Peterson, Ph.D., from the Neuroscience Center at Rigshospitalet—both in Denmark, conducted a randomized trial to examine the effects of mindfulness meditation on chronic pain. Patients with nonspecific chronic pain were randomly allocated to a standardized mindfulness meditation program (mindfulness-based stress reduction [MBSR]; 43 patients) or wait list control (47 patients). The primary outcome measure was the Short-Form 36 (SF36) vitality scale. Data were compared at baseline, after completion of the course/waiting period, and at the six-month follow-up.
The researchers observed a significant effect on the primary outcome measure (Cohen’s d = 0.39). Significant medium to large effects were seen on the secondary variables, including lower general anxiety and depression, better mental quality of life, feeling in control of the pain, and higher pain acceptance. For pain measures, small, nonsignificant effect sizes were observed. Measures just after the intervention were not significantly different from those at the six-month follow-up.
“A standardized mindfulness program contributes positively to pain management and can exert clinically relevant effects on several important dimensions in patients with long-lasting chronic pain,” the authors write.