If you struggle with back pain, you may be surprised to learn that there’s a very popular, nonintrusive practice that could help you realize real relief. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs have grown in popularity lately, but they’ve been in use all over the world for decades. As a mind-based approach to the problem, MBSR can also be used as a complement to other physical methodologies for improving back pain.
What Is MBSR?
MBSR is a mental practice whereby people discipline themselves to only focus on the present moment, not the past or future. It’s an offshoot of mindfulness meditation that shares certain tenets with cognitive behavioral therapy. Practitioners use meditation to practice “staying present” and then incorporate this ability into their everyday lives. This form of treatment usually involves some version of yoga, as well.
Does MBSR Work?
Dennis Anheyer of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and a team of researchers looked at seven previously published studies on MBSR. In total, these studies involved 864 patients. They concluded that participants enjoyed small improvements after MBSR treatments for short periods of time. Some studies even resulted in patients experiencing meaningful improvements to their mobility, though they didn’t necessarily last for the long term. When MBSR was paired with yoga, the results for those with disabilities and other physical limitations were even better than when MBSR was used on its own. Dr. Judith A. Turner from the University of Washington in Seattle has also studied MBSR’s benefits. She points out that, compared to other low back pain treatments (e.g. opioid medication and surgery), MBSR involves minimal risks. It can also teach patients new ways to approach their chronic pain that can help lower its perceived severity. While more research into MBSR may be necessary, there’s certainly no reason not to try it. Countless other people have over the past several decades and, as Dr. Anheyer mentioned, it’s certainly safe. He did add, though, that if you meditate or exercise, you should do so regularly.
Spinal Manipulation Helps Relieve Back Pain
Another way you can definitely experience pain relief in your low back – or any area surrounding your spinal column – is to visit your local chiropractor. Spinal manipulation is proven to work, so, after just a single adjustment from a chiropractor, many experience reduced pain and improved mobility, in many cases even after struggling with chronic pain for years.