Mindfulness and Relief from Chronic Pain?

Is medication the best way to relieve chronic pain? Most often, people who are suffering from chronic pain just want it to stop. But given the risks for drug dependency, abuse, and overdose from prescription medications, a number of doctors and researchers are refocusing their attention on alternative ways to help people experience relief. Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, and a team at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, wanted to know if mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could be as effective in relieving chronic back pain as traditional methods. They designed a randomized controlled study…

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PTSD, the Brain, and Pain

A single traumatic experience can set off many different levels of pain, whether emotional or physical, acute or chronic. But can PTSD affect how the brain processes pain? Marla Mickleborough, MA, of the University of British Columbia and Judith Daniels, PhD, of the University of Western Ontario, wanted to find out whether the brain might actually mitigate pain in the presence of trauma. They gathered an experimental group of patients with PTSD and a control group of people who had experienced trauma but had never developed PTSD. Researchers placed the subjects in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner while…

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Using Mindfulness to Change the Brain: A Different Way to Deal with Pain

It’s probably safe to say that most people have experienced pain at some point in their lives, be it acute or chronic. . . . . . and many of us have heard the phrase “mind over matter,” but when it comes to pain, does it actually work? It turns out that there is a certain area of the brain that plays a big role in pain response. And according to Kelly McGonigal, there’s one simple way you can help client’s train their brain to deal with pain more effectively. I hope you’ll check it out. It’s only 4 minutes….

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The Power of Mindfulness Meditation – Helping to Ease the Effects of Chronic Conditions

Chronic health problems, by definition, don’t go away quickly (or at all). And when we can’t help patients heal, the next best thing might be helping them cope. Enter mindfulness meditation. Jillian Simpson, RN, and Tim Mapel, senior lecturer at New Zealand’s Eastern Institute of Technology, wanted to find out whether mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) could help patients cope with chronic disease. So they recruited 29 participants suffering from chronic conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, IBS, and arthritis. Researchers randomly assigned participants to one of two groups – a treatment group that received MBSR training over eight weeks or…

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Take Up a Mindfulness Practice, Lose the Cane?

Is mindfulness effective with chronic pain? Many practitioners asked this question in a recent survey. They also wanted to know how they could convince their skeptical clients to give mindfulness a try. The connection between mindfulness and healing emotional pain, like stress or anxiety, may make more sense to your patients. But physical pain? That’s a big leap. Dr. Natalia Morone and a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburg addresses both patient compliance and chronic pain in a study published in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. The study looks at the feasibility…

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Meditation or Morphine?

What if we could replace morphine and other pain-relieving drugs with meditation? Fadal Zeidan, PhD from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently conducted a study in which he found that a form of mindfulness meditation, known as focused attention, drastically diminished subjects’ experience of pain. In previous findings morphine has been shown to reduce pain by about 25%. In this study, meditation lessened pain by about 40%. Dr. Zeidan’s study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. He took 15 healthy volunteers, who had no meditation experience, and had them attend four, 20 minute sessions where they learned the…

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