For those who suffer chronic low back pain, a smart solution to your pain could be fixed with something as simple as mindfulness. Mindfulness is the new pain killer! Read more below to learn about mindfulness and its benefits for easing low back pain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told doctors they should really, really think twice before prescribing opioids for chronic pain. And now the doctors are telling us that meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy often work better than pain meds and other medical treatments for chronic back pain.
It’s the latest in a series of studies saying that low-tech interventions like exercise, posture training, physical therapy and just the passage of time work better than opioids, imaging or surgery for the vast majority of people with chronic back pain. It’s part of a push to move treatment for chronic back pain, which affects about 8 percent of Americans and is a major cause of disability, away from being “medicalized” to something that people can manage by choosing from an array of non-medical alternatives.
This latest study, published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, assessed the value of mindfulness-based stress reduction, a program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970s, and cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy that helps reframe negative thoughts and is considered an evidence-based treatment for chronic pain. The 342 participants, most of whom had suffered back pain weekly for at least the past year, were offered either eight weekly sessions of mindfulness training; eight sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy; or to keep doing what they’d been doing.
Of those who did the mindfulness training, which included meditation and yoga instruction and CDs they could use at home, 43.6 percent reported a meaningful reduction in pain 26 weeks later. In the cognitive behavioral therapy group, 44.9 percent reported significant improvements. That’s compared to 26.6 percent in the usual care group. And it’s despite the fact that most people didn’t attend all eight sessions of the programs.