Meditation, cognitive therapy help back pain — study

Saturday, March 26, 2016

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy — not conventional treatments for back pain — seem to be effective in alleviating the common condition, researchers said last Tuesday.


After 26 weeks, researchers said patients treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) and yoga had "clinically meaningful improvement" of functional limitations compared to those with usual care.


The improvement was measured at 61 per cent for MSBR and yoga, ahead of 58 per cent for CBT and 44 per cent for conventional medicine.


The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association was a clinical trial with 342 adults ages 20-70, who had suffered from lower back pain for an average of seven years.


One-third, selected at random, was treated with MBSR and yoga, while another third used cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps patients identify and resolve bad behavioural choices and negative thoughts.


The last third was treated with pain medications. "These findings suggest that MBSR may be an effective treatment option for patients with chronic low back pain," the authors wrote.


"Although understanding the specificity of treatment effects, mechanisms of action and role of mediators are important issues for researchers; they are merely academic for many clinicians and their patients."

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