Yoga and Meditation Reduce Chronic Pain – Naturopathic and Naturopathic Specialists Portal

What to do with chronic pain

Yoga and meditation appear to provide significant relief from chronic pain and improve mood in depression. Millions of people around the world could benefit.

Can chronic pain be reduced with the help of yoga and meditation? (Image: Yakobchuk Olena /

So-called mindfulness-based stress reduction helps reduce chronic pain and depression, according to a recent study involving researchers from the Pacific Northwest College of Osteopathic Medicine at Western University. Yoga and meditation play a special role in this regard. The study was published in the English-language journal “Journal of the American Osteopathic Association”.

Effectively treat chronic pain?

Millions of people around the world are affected by chronic pain, which is also associated with high health costs. In the present study, the researchers tried to find new ways to effectively treat chronic pain. Study participants received intensive instruction in mindfulness meditation and hatha yoga over an eight-week period.

Pain must be made tolerable

The problem with chronic pain is that for many people it never goes away and is a part of everyday life. The researchers explain that the goal here should be to achieve a manageable level of pain for the affected person. Yoga and meditation are very helpful for this.

Pain and depression were reduced

The study found that mindful meditation and yoga led to significant improvements in the perception of pain, depression, and disability. As a result of the course, the results of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), a standard measure of depression, were reduced by 3.7 points on a 27-point scale.

Participants learned to cope with pain

Most of the people in the study benefited from yoga and meditation for chronic pain relief. A total of 89% of participants said the program helped them find ways to better manage their pain.

Treatments can be combined

Additionally, “chronic pain often goes hand in hand with depression,” says Dr. Cynthia Marske in a press release from the American Osteopathic Association. This is where mindfulness meditation and yoga can help restore people’s mental and physical health, and they can be effective on their own or in combination with other treatments, the expert adds.

Stress reduction as an accompanying treatment

The results of the new study are in line with previous studies which had already shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction can be a useful companion treatment for chronic pain and at the same time fight depression. As effective non-pharmaceutical treatments, “meditation and yoga may be viable options for people seeking relief from chronic pain,” says Dr. Marske. (as)

Author and source information

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Cynthia Marske, Samantha Shah, Aaron Chavira, Caleb Hedberg, Raelin Fullmer et al .: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in the Management of Chronic Pain and Its Comorbid Depression, in Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (published September 2020), Journal of the American Osteopathic AssociationAmerican Osteopathic Association: Study Finds Yoga and Meditation Reduce Chronic Pain (published October 1, 2020), AOA

Important note:
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.