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Meditation as good as a drug for chronic pain

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Nearly 90 percent of chronic sufferers say their pain or depression was eased after doing a form of mindfulness meditation that focused on stress reduction. Some reported their depression decreased by 12 percent according to a medical scale, a result that is similar to that achieved by antidepressants.

Researchers from the American Osteopathic Association tested the effects of an eight-week course of yoga and mindfulness meditation on a group of people who suffered from chronic pain and depression, two conditions that often go hand-in-hand.

Most sufferers have lost hope because nothing seems to work, said lead researcher Cynthia Marske. But after completing the course, 89 percent reported that they now had techniques that help them manage their pain, and their depression dropped 3.7 points on the 27-point Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ).

Rather than claim the patients had been cured, Dr Marske said she preferred to say they had been healed. “With chronic pain, healing involves learning to live with a level of pain that is manageable.”

(Source: Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2020; 120: 575)

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Article Topics: medicine, meditation, Pain, suffering
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