Research reported in Journal of Pain finds evidence that meditation may be effective in reducing chronic neck pain. Previous research has shown that meditation is effective in reducing stress levels, and that chronic pain is associated with heightened stress. The German research team hypothesized that an 8-week meditation program (jyoti meditation) would decrease pain more effectively than a standardized exercise program and that pain relief would coincide with stress reduction. Eighty-nine patients with chronic neck pain who showed increased perceived stress were randomized into meditation and exercise program groups.
Results from the 89 patients studied showed that meditation training significantly reduced pain when compared to the exercise group and pain related “bothersomeness” decreased more in the meditation group as well. Consistent with the known benefits of exercise on pain related outcomes, the study found no significant differences between meditation and exercise for pain during movement, pain disability, psychological scores, and quality of life. The authors concluded that meditation has unique benefits for producing pain relief and for pain coping.
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