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People With Chronic Pain May Benefit From Meditation and Yoga

Chronic pain is pain that lasts beyond the typical time it takes for an illness or injury to heal. Previous research suggests that anywhere from 30 to 50% of people with chronic pain also struggle with depression or anxiety. A new study suggests that mindful meditation and yoga may help improve perceptions of pain, depression, and functional capacity in people with chronic pain.

Twenty-eight adults who reported having chronic pain for at least 1 year participated in the study. They took part in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course that incorporated mindful mediation and yoga. Questionnaires were administered at baseline and at the end of the study period to evaluate perceptions of pain, depression, and functional capacity.

Participants scores on the Pain Catastrophizing Scale decreased by an average of 4.6 points on a 52-point scale by the end of the study period. Scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire (a standard measure of depression) decreased by an average of 3.7 points on a 27-point scale. In addition, scores on the Modified Oswestry Disability Index decreased by an average of 9.7%.

The study was conducted by researchers from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest. It was published on September 1, 2020 in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

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