Constantly in pain? This technique can help

September 06, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team

We often live with pain. Lower back pain, knee pain, cervical pain, headaches. Fatigue and pain go hand-in-hand. But now science has found this technique to release all kinds of pain and make you feel better.

A Study found that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs benefit participants with chronic pain and depression. The research, which was conducted in a small, group-class setting discovered that mindfulness sessions significantly improved participant perceptions of pain, depression, and functional capacity.

This study, which was published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, supports the growing body of research showing that MBSR can help manage chronic pain and reduce depressive symptoms. To treat the pain of chronic medical diseases, MBSR can be utilised in concert with pharmacologic and interventional approaches. MBSR may be a practical treatment option for patients at this time of increased prevalence of chronic pain syndromes without the need for pharmaceuticals.

The purpose of this study was to examine the potential advantages of an 8-week MBSR course and determine whether it could effectively improve functional capacity for a semi-rural population with chronic pain in Oregon where there are issues with affordability and access to adjunctive treatment modalities.

To address pain, depression, anxiety, and stress reduction in semi-rural communities in a way that is affordable and offers independent and adaptable management alternatives, this study was carried out.

Chronic pain is a common and serious medical condition

The number of Americans who suffer from chronic pain is believed to be 100 million, making it a widespread and dangerous medical disease. The medical profession increased prescriptions for opioid pharmacotherapy in the 1990s in response to growing concerns about chronic pain; this was a contributing cause in the present opioid crisis.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention took a strong stance against the use of opioids as first-line or routine therapy for chronic pain after realising the risks associated with overprescribing them. This perspective has sparked fresh initiatives to manage chronic pain in a multidisciplinary manner and to investigate nonpharmacological therapeutic options for those who have chronic pain.

What is a Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) strategy?

One such method is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which was created by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s for people with chronic pain. Through intense teaching in mindfulness meditation and mindful hatha yoga over the course of eight weeks, the MBSR educational programme aims to teach participants how to become aware of themselves in the present moment and how to do so without judgement.

For several illnesses, including pain, depression, addiction, and anxiety, this method has been shown to produce measurable and persistent benefits in health.

The Mindfulness Methodology

The University of Massachusetts Mindfulness-Based Practice methodology served as the foundation for the course content. “Our protocol was changed to shorten the number of lessons by eliminating the all-day class, but we kept the program’s first eight classes to accommodate more participants for the duration of the trial. The course content covered MBSR and was delivered in a progressive weekly format with both a didactic and practical component,” according to the researchers.

Week 1- Mindfulness of the body using body scan meditation including physical sensations

Week 2- Mindfulness of breathing using seated meditation as the foundation to observe the physical sensation of the breath

Week 3 – Mindfulness of the body with movement including gentle yoga stretches

Week 4 – Mindfulness of the breath and body together, including formal introduction of noticing unpleasant phenomena like stress/ pain and their manifestations in the body

Week 5 – Mindfulness of sounds and thoughts with additional teaching on noticing thoughts, and sensations associated with stress/ pain

Week 6 – Mindfulness of speech and communication, including specifically exploring how stress and somatic pain affect the way we communicate.

Week 7 – Loving-kindness meditation to develop kindness, acceptance, and compassion to complement and support mindfulness

Week 8 – Loving kindness and mindfulness explored together to support and develop a personally tailored meditation practice by each participant

Mindfulness can help with chronic pain and depression

This study looked at how MBSR helped patients with both chronic pain and depression. The fundamental postulate of osteopathic medicine is that a person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit, thus as osteopathic doctors, we are aware of how vital it is to treat the entire patient. Our research reveals that MBSR, which takes the full patient into account, may be beneficial in lowering self-reported pain and sadness.

Despite having a limited sample size, our results revealed outcomes that were comparable to those of other studies. This study adds to the body of existing research and raises the issue of how mindfulness can benefit people with chronic pain who are depressed, a subject that has not received enough attention in the literature.

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Name of the Organisation: The Yoga Institute

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