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MBSR Effective in Managing Pain


Phoenix Rising Founder
MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) was developed by John Kabat Zinn about 20 years ago to treat people in pain who didn't respond to pain drugs. It involves a variety of meditational and mindfulness techniques.

This study suggests it can be very effective -which is amazing considering how strong a symptom pain can be. Research has shown, though, that when the brain produces endorphins during feelings of happiness, well-being, etc. that the activity of the pain circuits dies down. These techniques are able to produce those endorphins.

To identify the effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP), we conducted a qualitative study of older adults who had participated in a clinical trial of an 8-week mindfulness meditation program. We found several themes reflecting the beneficial effects of mindfulness meditation on pain, attention, sleep, and achieving well-being.

Various methods of pain reduction were used, including distraction, increased body awareness leading to behavior change, better pain coping, and direct pain reduction through meditation. Participants described improved attention skills. A number of participants reported improved sleep latency as well as quality of sleep. Participants described achieving well-being during and after a meditation session that had immediate effects on mood elevation but also long-term global effects on improved quality of life. Several themes were identified related to pain reduction, improved attention, improved sleep, and achieving well-being resulting from mindfulness meditation that suggest it has promising potential as a nonpharmacologic treatment of chronic pain for older adults.

PERSPECTIVE: Community-dwelling older adults with chronic low back pain experience numerous benefits from mindfulness meditation including less pain, improved attention, better sleep, enhanced well-being, and improved quality of life.

While it may seem lightweight I think this stuff can really work. It's entirely possible that pain and fatigue are generated by the brain (not the muscles). If this is true then there should be a way to overcome some of the signals produced by it.

1: J Pain. 2008 Sep;9(9):841-8. Epub 2008 Jun 12. Links
"I felt like a new person." the effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults with chronic pain: qualitative narrative analysis of diary entries.

Morone NE, Lynch CS, Greco CM, Tindle HA, Weiner DK.
Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. moronene@upmc.edu


Senior Member
Well, they're compiling evidence that meditation and other mind-practices works. So I guess it ain't so lightweight after all.

I wonder what it is in us that stubbornly wants to view it as lightweight (I do it too, as much as you do) when the proof is out there and not just as data but we have sometimes had the experience of it ourselves?

Man, have we been brainwashed by a culture that we are discovering, doesn't know what it's talking about in these areas.:rolleyes:

This is excellent stuff because it puts some control and chance for healing, back into our own hands. So many things are out of our control or out of our financial abilities, can't get to this doctor because of distance, ill health or his unavailability ... Here is something that resides with us wherever we are, bedridden or not, vibrating or not, coherent or not.

Cool. :D