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Mindfulness influences the psycho-social dimension of chronic pain: A randomized controlled clinical trial in Indian context

Indian J Psychiatry. 2023 Oct;65(10):1061-1068. doi: 10.4103/indianjpsychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_393_23. Epub 2023 Oct 16.


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In India, the awareness about the psycho-social dimension of chronic pain is minimal among physicians and patients. The research with community-based group therapies (like mindfulness) to address the psycho-social aspects in chronic pain patients remains limited. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to see the effects of mindfulness on pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, chronic pain acceptance, perceived stress, well-being, and mindfulness characteristics.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this two-site, parallel group, clinical trial, 170 patients attending pain outdoors of two government hospitals in West Bengal, India, were randomized to attend five weekly in-person mindfulness sessions (cases) or usual care sessions (controls) within the hospital premises. Pre-program and post-program data were collected and analyzed using statistical methods like repeated measures analysis of variance.

RESULTS: In participants of the mindfulness group, significant changes post session were noted in pain intensity [F(1,326) = 15.0122; P = 0.0001291], pain acceptance [F(1,326) = 4.5311; P = 0.03403], and perceived stress score [F(1,326) = 13.2788; P = 0.0003122] compared to pre-session. The changes in pain catastrophizing, World Health Organization well-being and Freiburg mindfulness inventory scores were non-specific.

CONCLUSION: Mindfulness had a positive influence on pain intensity, pain acceptance, and perceived stress of Indian chronic pain patients. The effects on pain catastrophizing, mindfulness characteristics, and well-being (non-specific) were also encouraging. Further studies will be required to substantiate these results.

PMID:38108060 | PMC:PMC10725204 | DOI:10.4103/indianjpsychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_393_23

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