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Does mindfulness meditation improve chronic pain? A systematic review

Ball, Elizabeth F.a,c,d; Nur Shafina Muhammad Sharizan, Emirab; Franklin, Gennyc; Rogozińska, Ewelinaa,d

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2017 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p 359–366
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000417
WOMEN'S HEALTH: Edited by Joseph Aquilina
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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; I2 = 0%]. For affective pain (SMD −0.13; 95% CI −0.42, 0.16; I2 = 0%), sensory pain (SMD −0.02; 95% CI −0.31, 0.27; I2 = 0%) and anxiety (SMD −0.16; 95% CI −0.47, 0.15; I2 = 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; I2 = 69%), physical health (SMD 0.08; 95% CI −0.40, 0.56; I2 = 32%) and overall score (SMD 0.86, 95% CI −0.06, 1.78; I2 = 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.

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aWomen's Health Research Unit, Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London

bRoyal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool

cThe Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust

dMultidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (mEsh), Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

Correspondence to Elizabeth F. Ball, MD, PhD, MRCOG, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK. Tel: +44 07745940432; e-mail: elizabeth.ball@bartshealth.nhs.uk

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