Mindfulness meditation may be more effective than usual treatment in reducing chronic low-back pain, according to a new study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers from the Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, and the University of Washington, Seattle studied 342 subjects aged 20 to 70 using one of the two mind and body approaches or those who sought usual care for one year.
At 26 and 52 weeks, participants who used Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) had greater improvements in function and back pain when compared to those who remained in standard care.
“It is vital that we identify effective non-pharmacological treatment options for 25 million people who suffer from daily pain in the United States,” said Josephine Briggs, M.D., director of NCCIH. “The results from this research affirm that non-drug/non-opioid therapies, such as meditation, can help manage chronic low-back pain. Physicians and their patients can use this information to inform treatment decisions.”
Low-back pain is one of the major health concern for many workers. Traumatic injuries and other health conditions may trigger low-back pain. Occupational risk factors for developing low back pain include pushing and pulling, heavy lifting, and sitting for a long time.
The study led by Daniel Cherkin, Ph.D., a senior scientific investigator at the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.