The last thing you want to tell someone suffering from low back pain is that the pain is all in their head. But, according to new research reported by Health Day News, your mind might be a more effective remedy for the pain than painkillers.
The benefits of meditation of have been praised by the likes of Oprah and Russell Simmons and a new study looking at a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program found that people who participated in MBSR classes, which included group yoga and meditation, were more than 40 percent likely to have “meaningful” improvement in their pain than participants who treated their back pain with standard medical care.
Lead study researcher Daniel Cherkin, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute, in Seattle, doesn’t have an answer for why mindfulness may help ease back pain, but it may have something to do with minimizing stress.
With mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga, people are able to get into their bodies by recognizing sensations and how they feel physically and mentally, without “getting stressed out,” Cherkin explains.
The pain doesn’t disappear, but as Andrea Minick Rudolph, a meditation expert and therapist based in Harrisburg, Pa, explained, “The ability to deal with thoughts around pain is the important step to reduce and manage pain.”
Back Pain & Stress
Back pain, whether temporary or long term, can affect a person’s quality of life in debilitating ways. Back pain can limit your ability to climb stairs, walk, lay in bed or sit for extended periods. Roughly 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. Stress about the pain itself and how the pain affects other important areas of life is common.