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Does mindfulness meditation improve chronic pain? A systematic review

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Purpose of review

Psychological factors are associated with chronic pain. Mindfulness meditation may ameliorate symptoms. The objective was to evaluate the effects of mindfulness meditation in chronic pain.

Recent findings

A systematic search of four databases identified 534 citations; 13 Randomised controlled trials satisfied the inclusion criteria. Mindfulness meditation significantly reduced depression [Standardised mean difference (SMD) −0.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.53, −0.03; P = 0.03; I 2 = 0%]. For affective pain (SMD −0.13; 95% CI −0.42, 0.16; I 2 = 0%), sensory pain (SMD −0.02; 95% CI −0.31, 0.27; I 2 = 0%) and anxiety (SMD −0.16; 95% CI −0.47, 0.15; I 2 = 0%) there was a trend towards benefit with intervention. Quality of life items on mental health (SMD 0.65; 95% CI −0.27, 1.58; I 2 = 69%), physical health (SMD 0.08; 95% CI −0.40, 0.56; I 2 = 32%) and overall score (SMD 0.86, 95% CI −0.06, 1.78; I 2 = 88%) improved with mindfulness meditation.Summary

Mindfulness meditation has most prominent effect on psychological aspects on living with chronic pain, improving associated depression and quality of life.

Keywords: Vipassana meditation; chronic pain; chronic pelvic pain; mindfulness meditation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Women's Health Research Unit, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (mEsh), Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK 2: Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool 3: The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust 4: Women's Health Research Unit, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (mEsh), Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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