Before you pop another pill for that ache in your lower back, you may want to consider practicing a little mindfulness to numb the pain. A new study suggests taking part in meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or yoga can be even more effective treatment for chronic lower back pain than pain medicine.
CNN reports about the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that suggests using mindfulness is a more effective tool to combat pain than just popping pills. Researchers involved in the study split their more than 300 participants who suffered from chronic lower back pain into 3 groups. One group was given an eight week mindfulness stress reduction program that involved regular meditation and yoga, the second group took part in 8 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy to change the way they thought about pain, and the third group stuck with their usual routines of taking pain meds like ibuprofen.
At the end of the two months, 47% of participants from the mindfulness group saw a 47% reduction in “disabling” back pain and 52% in the CBT group also saw reduced pain. And the group that solely relied on pain meds only saw a 35% reduction in pain. Lead author of the study Daniel C. Cherkin explains how the study proves that mindfulness therapy can be just as effective as CBT. He says, “Our results confirm what has already been found for (cognitive behavioral therapy), and we went beyond that to show this other mindfulness approach was equally effective for chronic back pain.”
Though CBT and mindfulness sound similar in practice, CBT is about changing your attitude and the way you think about pain whereas mindfulness is more about simply accepting your feelings for what they are. Cherkin explains, "With mindfulness-based stress reduction, the main focus is on increasing awareness of emotional feelings and physical feelings including pain, but changing the way in which you react and interpret (them).”
What do you think about the new study that suggests practicing mindfulness can be a more effective pain reliever than pain pills?
Do you find meditating or doing yoga to be an effective pain reliever?