Does Mindfulness Meditation Improve Chronic Pain? A Systematic Review

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Dec;29(6):359-366. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000417.

Abstract

Purpose of review: Psychological factors are associated with chronic pain. Mindfulness meditation may ameliorate symptoms. The objective was to evaluate the effects of mindfulness meditation in chronic pain.

Recent findings: A systematic search of four databases identified 534 citations; 13 Randomised controlled trials satisfied the inclusion criteria. Mindfulness meditation significantly reduced depression [Standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.53, -0.03; P = 0.03; I = 0%]. For affective pain (SMD -0.13; 95% CI -0.42, 0.16; I = 0%), sensory pain (SMD -0.02; 95% CI -0.31, 0.27; I = 0%) and anxiety (SMD -0.16; 95% CI -0.47, 0.15; I = 0%) there was a trend towards benefit with intervention. Quality of life items on mental health (SMD 0.65; 95% CI -0.27, 1.58; I = 69%), physical health (SMD 0.08; 95% CI -0.40, 0.56; I = 32%) and overall score (SMD 0.86, 95% CI -0.06, 1.78; I = 88%) improved with mindfulness meditation.

Summary: Mindfulness meditation has most prominent effect on psychological aspects on living with chronic pain, improving associated depression and quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Chronic Pain / complications
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic