Loving-kindness meditation for chronic low back pain: results from a pilot trial

J Holist Nurs. 2005 Sep;23(3):287-304. doi: 10.1177/0898010105277651.


Purpose: Loving-kindness meditation has been used for centuries in the Buddhist tradition to develop love and transform anger into compassion. This pilot study tested an 8-week loving-kindness program for chronic low back pain patients.

Method: Patients (N = 43) were randomly assigned to the intervention or standard care. Standardized measures assessed patients' pain, anger, and psychological distress.

Findings: Post and follow-up analyses showed significant improvements in pain and psychological distress in the loving-kindness group, but no changes in the usual care group. Multilevel analyses of daily data showed that more loving-kindness practice on a given day was related to lower pain that day and lower anger the next day.

Conclusions: Preliminary results suggest that the loving-kindness program can be beneficial in reducing pain, anger, and psychological distress in patients with persistent low back pain.

Implications: Clinicians may find loving-kindness meditation helpful in the treatment of patients with persistent pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anger
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Holistic Nursing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / nursing*
  • Low Back Pain / psychology*
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Spirituality
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors