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Rejoice! This new study says yoga and meditation can reduce chronic pain

Published on:2 October 2020, 13:16pm IST
No matter how much we talk about the benefits of yoga and meditation, it doesn’t seem to be enough!
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Look no more! Your solution for chronic pain lies in yoga and meditation. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Yoga and meditation have numerous benefits, ranging from physical health to mental well-being. You could even say that there ain’t a thing that yoga and meditation cannot help you with. A recent study also claims that yoga and meditation can also reduce chronic pain!

The study, spanning for eight weeks and published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, made the participants follow a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course. This course was found to benefit about 89% of the participants with chronic pain and depression, leading to significant improvement in participant perceptions of pain, mood and functional capacity. 

Cynthia Marske, DO, an osteopathic physician and director of graduate medical education at the Community Health Clinics of Benton and Linn County say: “Many people have lost hope because, in most cases, chronic pain will never fully resolve. However, mindful yoga and meditation can help improve the structure and function of the body, which supports the process of healing.”

Does meditation really have that magical touch? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to researchers, yoga and meditation can ‘heal’ chronic pain
Dr Marske explained that healing and curing are inherently different and says, “Curing means eliminating disease, while healing refers to becoming more whole. With chronic pain, healing involves learning to live with a level of pain which is manageable. For this, yoga and meditation can be very beneficial.”

Also, read: Doing yoga even twice a week can ease depression symptoms: Study

The study found that mindful meditation and yoga led to significant improvements in patients’ perceptions of pain, depression and disability. Following the course, the Patient Health Questionnaire or the PHQ-9 scores, a standard measure of depression, dropped by 3.7 points on a 27-point scale.

According to Dr Marske, some patients experience a similar drop from the use of an antidepressant. “Chronic pain often goes hand-in-hand with depression,” says Dr Marske. “Mindfulness-based meditation and yoga can help restore both a patient’s mental and physical health and can be effective alone or in combination with other treatments such as therapy and medication.”

yoga for depression
Ease your depressive symptoms with yoga. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The findings bolster other evidence that MBSR can be a useful adjunctive treatment for chronic pain while improving perceived depression. “The bottom line is that patients are seeking new ways to cope with chronic pain and effective non-pharmaceutical treatments are available. Our findings show meditation and yoga can be a viable option for people seeking relief from chronic pain,” concludes Dr Marske.