Mind Matters: New Studies Show Meditation Helps Back Pain


The world of therapy has been around longer than many people think – at least now that meditation has shown a clinical significance in treating back pain.

Written accounts of meditative techniques can be found as far back as 1500 BCE in the ancient Hindu scripts known as The Vedas. Eventually, the 6th and 5th centuries BCE saw the rise of Buddhism and Taoist philosophies, maintaining and developing these spiritual exercises even further.

 

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Now, a recent study published in The Journal of the American Medicine Association surveyed 345 adults ranging from ages 22 to 70, assigning them various types of treatments for back pain.

Participants were randomly assigned one of three treatment options – mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, or merely the continuation of their current treatment (or lack thereof).

On average, it was determined that the participants suffered from back pain for about 7 years, however over the course of 26 weeks the results had researchers in awe.

Through a mix of mindfulness training and yoga, 61 percent of the participants in this group showed a “clinically meaningful improvement” in terms of their functional limitations. 58 percent of the cognitive behavioral therapy group also showed similar improvements, trailed by 44 percent of the usual care group.

Mainly, participants in the mindfulness-based stress reduction group focused their efforts on observing their feelings of pain, working to acknowledge and accept these sensations. From that point they were able to reframe their pain, and in a sense, transcend its hold on their lives.

Additionally, there’s something to be said about the cognitive behavioral therapy group – participant success in altering their behavior was also quite notable. Forging a deeper mind-body connection helps people, no matter which way you brand it.

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As opioids and painkillers continue to wreak their havoc in the U.S., professionals are turning to any helpful methods they can before prescriptions become the only solution. Nationwide, these results have prompted many physical and behavioral therapists in the industry to rethink the use of meditation techniques in their strategies.

To many, the shift to more holistic therapies may seem obvious and long overdue. However, for an industry so heavily based on evidence, these studies will only prompt the next wave of researchers to pursue the value of mindfulness-based therapies.

Authors from John Hopkins University School of Medicine praised the study and what it might mean for the industry, hoping that soon similar therapies will be accessible for more Americans soon.

Luckily for traveling therapists, picking up a few extra mindfulness techniques doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to the Himalayas. There’s a wealth of information available through places like The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and many other sites around the web.

Even if your patients don’t suffer from back pain, it can still be beneficial to take a few minutes out of your own day to breathe, collect your thoughts and enjoy a little spiritual bliss.

Author: Connor Smith

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