You might look at back pain as an enemy. But could adopting it as a friend change how you feel?
A new study is showing that embracing and accepting back pain is a very effective form of treatment.
It might actually work far better for you than cognitive behavioral therapies and the medicine or therapy you’re currently using.
You might think I’m crazy, but bear with me here.
Taming Back Pain Through Meditation
A brand-new study in JAMA Internal Medicine is showing that 65 million Americans suffering from back pain can tame it through meditation.
And not just any form of meditation, but a type called “mindfulness-based stress reduction.” In theory—and now in practice—this technique can serve up pain relief anywhere, anytime. You could literally tame a flare-up in minutes when you’re waiting for the bus or standing in line at the grocery store.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction involves using a combination of techniques including meditation, body awareness, and yoga, while emphasizing acceptance of your condition and experience—essentially, you master the pain.
Without going into too much detail about the specifics of the study, people with lower back pain who went through mindfulness-based stress reduction training fared far better when it came to doing things like getting up out of a chair, putting their socks on, and climbing stairs compared to people who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy or continued the treatment they were currently using—things like medication, pain education, etc.
The mindfulness group was also less irritable and more likely to go outside and enjoy life than the other groups, and these benefits lasted for over a year after the initial eight-week training period.
Adopt a New Relationship With Back Pain
Now, there are definite benefits to accepting the pain and fostering a new relationship with it. Viewing it not as a burden, but instead as something that can be dealt with, can vastly improve the quality of your life. And being in control of your physical condition through mental mastery is applicable to a number of symptoms associated with physical and emotional pain.
The only real issue with this form of treatment is that finding people to properly teach it can be very difficult. There is simply a shortage of truly qualified professionals.
But it you’re looking for an effective way to treat back pain and don’t want to deal with the potential side effects of pharmaceuticals, then adopting a new relationship with pain and learning how to manage it on command is definitely something worth exploring.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Cherkin, D., et al., “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; A Randomized Clinical Trial, ” JAMA, 2016;315(12):1240-1249. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.2323.
Rabin, C., “Mind-based therapies may ease lower back pain,” New York Times web site, March 22, 2016; http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/mind-based-therapies-may-ease-lower-back-pain/?_r=1, last accessed March 28, 2016.