Brief, single-session mind-body interventions delivered by hospital social workers led to clinically significant improvements in pain and related outcomes among patients in a new trial , the findings of which are published in theJournal of General Internal Medicine .
In the year-long study, 244 patients reporting intolerable pain or inadequate pain control were randomised to receive a scripted session in one of three interventions: mindfulness, hypnotic suggestion or pain coping education.
While all three types of intervention reduced patients’ anxiety and increased their feelings of relaxation, participants in the mind-body interventions groups reported significantly lower baseline-adjusted pain intensity post-intervention than those assigned to psycho-education. Mindfulness was associated with a 23 per cent reduction in pain from baseline, suggestion achieved a 29 per cent reduction, and education reduced pain by 9 per cent. Patients receiving two mind-body therapies also reported a significant decrease in their perceived need for opioid medication.
“It was really exciting and quite amazing to see such dramatic results from a single mind-body session,” said Eric Garland, lead author of the study. “These brief mind-body therapies could be cost-effectively and feasibly integrated into standard medical care as useful adjuncts to pain management.”
The team is now hoping to reproduce the findings in a larger cohort.