Can Mindfulness Have Greater Effect On Chronic Pain Than CBT?


Can mindfulness have greater effect on chronic pain than CBT? Recent research suggests that mindfulness could be just as good as cognitive behavioral therapy for reducing chronic pain symptoms. The study was published in the BMJ journal Evidence-Based Mental Health.

The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that about 50 million people in the United States have chronic pain. People with chronic pain experience pain every day and some individuals experience “high-impact” chronic pain.

Chronic pain can have an effect on a person’s well-being and your mental health. Currently, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the only psychological treatment for chronic pain.

For the findings, Eve-Ling Khoo, of the Clinical Epidemiology department at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, along with colleagues analyzed the effectiveness of CBT or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on chronic pain.

The team looked at 2,000 participants, aged between 35 and 65 years old. During the examination, musculoskeletal pain including chronic lower back pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis was considered. The researchers found that CBT and MBSR both improved the participants’ physical health as well as relief their pain.

The authors said: “While CBT is considered to be the preferred psychological intervention of chronic pain, not all patients with it experience a clinically significant treatment response.”

“Although a number of recommendations have been proposed to improve CBT for patients with chronic pain, an additional solution may be to offer patients MBSR since it shows promise in improving pain severity and reducing pain interference and psychological distress.”