Study: Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) beat usual care for chronic back pain

behavioral healthStudy finds mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion offers relief for low-back pain (NIH release):

Mind­ful­ness based stress reduc­tion (MBSR) and cog­ni­tive-behav­ioral ther­a­py (CBT) may prove more effec­tive than usu­al treat­ment in alle­vi­at­ing chron­ic low-back pain, accord­ing to a new study fund­ed by the Nation­al Cen­ter for Com­ple­men­tary and Inte­gra­tive Health (NCCIH), part of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health…342 par­tic­i­pants aged 20 to 70 used one of the two mind and body approach­es or sought usu­al care for one year. At 26 and 52 weeks, par­tic­i­pants using MBSR and CBT had greater improve­ment in func­tion and back pain com­pared to the group that 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.”

Study: Effect of Mind­ful­ness-Based Stress Reduc­tion vs Cog­ni­tive Behav­ioral Ther­a­py or Usu­al Care on Back Pain and Func­tion­al Lim­i­ta­tions in Adults With Chron­ic Low Back Pain (Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion). From the abstract:

  • Impor­tance: Mind­ful­ness-based stress reduc­tion (MBSR) has not been rig­or­ous­ly eval­u­at­ed for young and mid­dle-aged adults with chron­ic low back pain.
  • Objec­tive: To eval­u­ate the effec­tive­ness for chron­ic low back pain of MBSR vs cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py (CBT) or usu­al care.
  • Inter­ven­tions: CBT (train­ing to change pain-relat­ed thoughts and behav­iors) and MBSR (train­ing in mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion and yoga) were deliv­ered in 8 week­ly 2‑hour groups. Usu­al care includ­ed what­ev­er care par­tic­i­pants received.
  • Con­clu­sions and Rel­e­vance: Among adults with chron­ic low back pain, treat­ment with MBSR or CBT, com­pared with usu­al care, result­ed in greater improve­ment in back pain and func­tion­al lim­i­ta­tions at 26 weeks, with no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in out­comes between MBSR and CBT. These find­ings sug­gest that MBSR may be an effec­tive treat­ment option for patients with chron­ic low back pain.

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