Background: Chronic pain patients increasingly seek treatment through mindfulness meditation.
Purpose: This study aims to synthesize evidence on efficacy and safety of mindfulness meditation interventions for the treatment of chronic pain in adults.
Method: We conducted a systematic review on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with meta-analyses using the Hartung-Knapp-Sidik-Jonkman method for random-effects models. Quality of evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach. Outcomes included pain, depression, quality of life, and analgesic use.
Results: Thirty-eight RCTs met inclusion criteria; seven reported on safety. We found low-quality evidence that mindfulness meditation is associated with a small decrease in pain compared with all types of controls in 30 RCTs. Statistically significant effects were also found for depression symptoms and quality of life.
Conclusions: While mindfulness meditation improves pain and depression symptoms and quality of life, additional well-designed, rigorous, and large-scale RCTs are needed to decisively provide estimates of the efficacy of mindfulness meditation for chronic pain.
Keywords: Chronic pain; Meditation; Mindfulness; Systematic review.