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Is meditation effective in relieving pain?

If you are dealing with some type of pain, you are not alone. According to one survey, approximately 100 million American adults live with pain such as arthritis and joint pain. Other studies show chronic pain affects about 15 percent of U.S. adults. 

Persistent pain that is a result of some type of accident can be life-altering. You may miss work, experience a loss of enjoyment of life and deal with the trauma of the accident. What if meditation could help relieve your pain? Here is what the studies say about the effectiveness of meditation to relieve pain. 

Wake Forest University study

2011 study shows a 40 percent reduction in the level of pain intensity during meditation. By activating and reinforcing the parts of the brain that process pain, meditation can help patients experience relief. This particular study shows that even beginners in meditation can reap the rewards of pain relief. 

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center study

There is a 2015 study that shows that mindfulness meditation is better than placebos in terms of reducing pain. Here are the results of the three different groups:

  • Placebo cream: Reduced pain sensation by 11 percent and emotional unpleasantness by 13 percent.
  • "Fake" mindfulness: Decreased pain intensity by 9 percent and emotional pain by 24 percent.
  • Mindfulness meditation: Cut pain intensity by 27 percent and emotional pain by 44 percent.

Meditation outperforms the other groups by huge numbers. This is a significant finding because controlled trials are crucial to proving the efficacy of other treatments.

An alternative to pain medications

There still needs to be more research and studies on meditation, but the existing results show that it is a useful tool for many patients. This helps patients manage pain in an affordable and natural manner. Using meditation on a wider scale may reduce health care costs and prevent patients from depending on opioid pain relievers, which often lead to addiction.

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