Enduring chronic pain can be an enormous emotional burden; paying for it presents an enormous financial burden. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine estimated the total medical and productivity cost of serious pain at $635 billion per year. The Institute study found that at least 116 million US adults suffer from chronic pain every year, leading to extra sick days and diminished productivity.
Another recent survey of 1,000 Americans by Research America showed that 57% of all adults have had chronic or recurrent pain in the prior year, and that 75% of people in pain had to adjust their lifestyle. And medical costs for patients with chronic pain are about three times higher than for people without it, according to a study with more than 55,000 patient records published in the Journal of Pain.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of mindfulness practice as a safe alternative to managing chronic pain. Here are a few from recent research.
|Efficacy of Mindfulness Training for Fibromyalgia Patients - In this observational study, patients showed a significant improvement in the post-treatment assessment in terms of their quality of life, the presence and intensity of pain and depressive symptoms. Similarly, they developed more adaptive strategies to cope with pain, based on self-affirmation variables and information searching. Women who continued with post-treatment mindfulness meditation broadly maintained the acquired improvements.|
|Mindfulness-based stress reduction for chronic pain conditions: Variation in treatment outcomes and role of home meditation practice - In a six-year longitudinal investigation, 133 patients with chronic pain participated in an 8-week MBSR course. Subjects with arthritis, back/neck pain, and two or more chronic pain conditions reported significantly less pain and fewer functional limitations.|
|Mindfulness meditation for symptom reduction in fibromyalgia: Psychophysiological correlates - Using a within-subjects research design, measures of skin conductance were used to estimate sympathetic activation (a proposed mechanism for chronic pain). Two months after MBSR, sympathetic activation was significantly reduced, in addition to reduced depressive symptoms.|
|Comparison of cognitive behavioral and mindfulness meditation interventions on adaptation to rheumatoid arthritis for patients with and without history of recurrent depression - In a randomized controlled trial, mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy groups showed more improvement in coping efficacy than did a group receiving education only. Rheumatoid arthritis patients with recurrent depression benefited most from mindfulness practice across several measures, including negative and positive affect and physicians' ratings of joint tenderness.|
|Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: a randomized controlled pilot study - In this randomized controlled pilot study, adults 65 and older with chronic low back pain of moderate intensity were monitored at eight weeks and three months. Compared to the control group, participants in an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction intervention displayed significant improvement in chronic pain, physical function and quality of life.|
|Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in rheumatoid arthritis patients - In a randomized controlled trial with 31 MBSR participants and 32 controls, significant improvements in psychological distress and well-being were observed following MBSR plus a 4-month program of continued reinforcement. Mindfulness meditation may complement medical disease management by improving psychological distress and strengthening well-being in patients with arthritis.|
|Mindfulness training as an intervention for fibromyalgia: Evidence of post-intervention and 3-year follow up benefits in well-being - Fifty-eight female patients with fibromyalgia underwent MBSR or an active social support procedure (control) in a quasi-experimental design. MBSR provided significantly greater benefits than the control intervention for pain, quality of life measures, and coping with pain, anxiety and depression; three-year follow-up analyses of MBSR participants indicated sustained benefits. Findings indicate mindfulness intervention to be of long-term benefit for female fibromyalgia patients.|
|The effectiveness of mindfulness training on the grieving process and emotional well-being of chronic pain patients - An 8-week mindfulness meditation program was given to address the grieving process among 39 patients diagnosed with chronic pain; 18 patients served voluntarily as controls in this research. The treatment group advanced significantly more quickly through the initial stages of grieving than the comparison group. In addition, the treatment group demonstrated significant reductions in depression and state anxiety.|