What Science is Saying About Mindfulness Meditation and Chronic Pain Management

Mindfulness is no longer an obscure practice, science is starting to support the effects of a regular practice in the management of chronic pain.

A recent 2017 study(1) summarizing research into mindfulness and chronic pain has concluded that mindfulness-based meditation should be considered a part of the holistic management of chronic pain.

The authors of this study conclude that mindfulness-based meditation improves symptoms associated with living with chronic pain, including depression and quality of life.

What is mindfulness-based meditation?

Essentially, mindfulness is about being in the moment – being engaged with what we are doing, connected to our senses, accepting, compassionate and non-judgmental(2).

Whether we suffer from chronic pain or not, we can all incorporate more mindfulness into our day.

Here are a few easy tips for how to do this: 

• Create “touchpoints” that you can use frequently throughout your day:
• Notice the feeling of your feet on the floor
• Bring your attention to the sensation of your breath
• Tune into the sounds around you – wind, rain, traffic, birdsong, etc
• Bring awareness to listening and talking. Can you listen attentively without agreeing or disagreeing, giving advice or planning what you will say when it is your turn?
• Use a mindfulness app – I’ve enjoyed using “Breathe” and “Smiling Mind” (no affiliation!)
• Take an online mindfulness course – I can’t say enough about Monash University’s “Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance” which is hosted on the FutureLearn platform (again, no affiliation!)

For more information on managing chronic pain, see your Physiotherapist!

1. Ball EF. Does mindfulness meditation improve chronic pain? A systematic review. Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2017;29(6):359-366.
2. Monash University (Producer). (2017). Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance (MOOC). Retrieved from.