Meditation and its Pain-Relieving Benefits
A recent study found that 80% of people had reduced their pain after three months practicing meditation. A previous study had similarly impressive results, suggesting that natural remedies such as mindfulness should not be overlooked.
Four in five see pain alleviation through mindfulness
Using the simple practice of meditation to calm the mind and center oneself on the current moment, older adults are able to alleviate some of their chronic lower back pain. That’s the finding of a 2016 study that charted pain scores among nearly 300 seniors with long-term LBP. Participants were split evenly between a meditation group and a control group; the former, who were instructed in a special form of meditation for 60 days, saw their pain go down over the study period.
“Mindfulness meditation is a method to learn how to be fully engaged in the present moment and not let the mind get so easily distracted,” noted Dr. Natalia Morone, who directed the research team at the University of Pittsburgh.
Those participants who meditated reported lower pain ratings and even were better able to use their bodies.
A total of 282 Pittsburgh seniors were assessed for impact of meditation on pain relief, according to the report published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The participants each had been suffering from chronic back pain for at least 90 days and had not tried mindfulness techniques previously.
The population was split in two, with one scheduled to participate in meditation courses, focusing on breathing and immediate physical sensations for 90 minutes weekly. The other group also attended a course, but theirs was focused on tips for healthy aging, such as stretching and keeping one’s blood pressure in-check.
Both of the groups experienced pain relief and functional improvements. However, the change was much more dramatic among those who meditated. At the end of the study, 80 percent of the mindfulness group said that their back pain had been reduced, compared with only 37% of those who took the wellness class.
44% pain reduction from meditation
Another recent study was conducted in 2015 by Wake Forest researchers. The participants were divided into four groups. This time there were 75 people, all of whom were pain-free. Each of them were placed within an MRI and had their brains scanned as they received painful heat from a 120-degree probe.
One group was given a placebo cream to rub on their leg. A second was told to breathe deeply, without further direction. A third had to listen to a purposely tiresome book-on-tape. The fourth group, the real one, was taught to sit for twenty minutes with their backs straight and eyes closed; they were told to center their minds on their breath and to let thoughts pass away without attachment.
Following four days of training with these treatments, the groups re-experienced the heated probe. Using analysis with the MRI, the doctors found that pain went down 11% and emotional discomfort decreased 13% among the cream participants. Those taught simply to breathe experienced 9% and 24% reductions. For the meditation group, indeed, the numbers were better: 27% lower pain and 44% less emotional distress.
Getting help to stop your pain
Are you in search of natural remedies to curb your pain? The recent science is strong that mindfulness meditation can help. However, you may need additional treatments for recovery.
At Health Star Clinic, we believe it is our responsibility to minimize the need for pain medications and surgery as we work to correct the underlying health problem with a balance of medical treatments, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy. We promise to treat you like family.