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Mindfulness Helps Back Pain

April 18th, 2008 · No Comments

A recent study showed that mindfulness exercises can significantly help low back pain in older adults.

8 sessions of training in mindfulness, which is awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment by moment, were given to older adults with chronic low back pain. Participants in the study meditated an average of 4.3 days a week and 31.6 minutes per day.

3 techniques of mindfulness meditation were taught. These techniques take regular activities such as sitting, walking and lying down, and transform them into a meditation through directed breathing and mindful awareness of thoughts and sensations. Several attitudes that support mindfulness meditation were emphasized throughout the 8 classes, including patience, non-judging, beginner’s mind, acceptance, letting go, non-striving and trust. Letting go of struggle and accepting one’s condition without judgment are critical concepts in mindfulness-based programs.

Significant improvements were seen in 1) acceptance of pain, and 2) physical functioning. The majority of participants continued to meditate at the 3-month follow-up, suggesting they found enough benefit in meditation to continue it on their own. Nearly 1/2 of the participants reported reduction in pain and sleep medications 3 months after completing the study.

The original article is: Morone NE, Greco CM and Weiner DK. Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: A randomized controlled pilot study. Pain. 2008 ; 134 : 310-9.

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