Mind Over Matter: Beating Pain and Painkillers
February 05, 2014
With nearly one-third of Americans suffering from chronic pain, prescription opioid painkillers have become the leading form of treatment for this debilitating condition. Unfortunately, misuse of prescription opioids can lead to serious side effects-including death by overdose. A new treatment developed by University of Utah researcher Eric Garland has shown to not only lower pain but also decrease prescription opioid misuse among chronic pain patients.
Results of a study by Garland published online Feb. 3 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, showed that the new treatment led to a 63 percent reduction in opioid misuse, compared to a 32 percent reduction among participants of a conventional support group. Additionally, participants in the new treatment group experienced a 22 percent reduction in pain-related impairment, which lasted for three months after the end of treatment.
The new intervention, called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement, or MORE, is designed to train people to respond differently to pain, stress and opioid-related cues.
MORE targets the underlying processes involved in chronic pain and opioid misuse by combining three therapeutic components: mindfulness training, reappraisal and savoring.
Mindfulness involves training the mind to increase awareness, gain control over one's attention and regulate automatic habits.
Reappraisal is the process of reframing the meaning of a stressful or adverse event in such a way as to see it as purposeful or growth promoting.
Savoring is the process of learning to focus attention on positive events to increase one's sensitivity to naturally rewarding experiences, such as enjoying a beautiful nature scene or experiencing a sense of connection with a loved one.
"Mental interventions can address physical problems, like pain, on both psychological and biological levels because the mind and body are interconnected," Garland said. "Anything that happens in the brain happens in the body-so by changing brain functioning, you alter the functioning of the body."
To test the treatment, 115 chronic pain patients were randomly assigned to eight weeks of either MORE or conventional support group therapy, and outcomes were measured through questionnaires at pre- and post-treatment, and again at a three-month follow-up. Nearly three-quarters of the group misused opioid painkillers before starting the program by taking higher doses than prescribed, using opioids to alleviate stress and anxiety or another method of unauthorized self-medication with opioids.
Among the skills taught by MORE were a daily 15-minute mindfulness practice session guided by a CD and three minutes of mindful breathing prior to taking opioid medication. This practice was intended to increase awareness of opioid craving-helping participants clarify whether opioid use was driven by urges versus a legitimate need for pain relief.
"People who are in chronic pain need relief, and opioids are medically appropriate for many individuals," Garland said. "However, a new option is needed because existing treatments may not adequately alleviate pain while avoiding the problems that stem from chronic opioid use."
MORE is currently being tested in a pilot brain imaging trial as a smoking cessation treatment, and there are plans to test the intervention with people suffering from mental health problems who also have alcohol addiction. Further testing on active-duty soldiers with chronic pain and a larger trial among civilians is planned. If studies continue to demonstrate positive outcomes, MORE could be prescribed by doctors as an adjunct to traditional pain management services.
Garland is an associate professor of social work at the University of Utah, research fellow of the National Center for Veterans Studies and associate director of integrative medicine in the Supportive Oncology and Survivorship Program at the U's Huntsman Cancer Institute. He conducted this early-stage trial with Eron Manusov, physician at Duke Southern Regional Area Health Education Center; Brett Froeliger, assistant professor of neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina; Amber Kelly, social work doctoral candidate at Smith College; Jaclyn Williams, social work doctoral student at Florida State University; and Matthew Howard, Frank Daniels Distinguished Professor of Social Work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The study was published by the American Psychological Association and was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, grant R03DA032517.
University of Utah
Related Chronic Pain Current Events and Chronic Pain News ArticlesA demography of unceasing discomfort
Americans are in a world of hurt. Nearly one in five U.S. adults are in pain most every day for spells of three months or longer, according to an analysis by Jae Kennedy, professor of health policy and administration at Washington State University Spokane. The estimated 39 million adults in persistent pain outnumber the residents of California. Obesity link to increased risk for orthopedic conditions and surgical complications
Obesity affects individual patient care, the healthcare system and nearly every organ in the body. People with obesity often have other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, certain tumors and cancers, and psychiatric disorders. However, the role of obesity in orthopaedic conditions and their treatment is less well-publicized.Medical discovery first step on path to new painkillers
A major medical discovery by scientists at The University of Nottingham could lead to the development of an entirely new type of painkiller. Public feels more negative toward drug addicts than mentally ill
People are significantly more likely to have negative attitudes toward those suffering from drug addiction than those with mental illness, and don't support insurance, housing, and employment policies that benefit those dependent on drugs, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.Fibromyalgia and the role of brain connectivity in pain inhibition
The cause of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome is not known. However, the results of a new study that compares brain activity in individuals with and without fibromyalgia indicate that decreased connectivity between pain-related and sensorimotor brain areas could contribute to deficient pain regulation in fibromyalgia.Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood worsens musculoskeletal pain outcomes after trauma
Individuals living in disadvantaged neighborhoods have worse musculoskeletal pain outcomes over time after stressful events such as motor vehicle collision than individuals from higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods, even after accounting for individual characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, and employment status.No innocent bystander: cartilage contributes to arthritis
Melbourne researchers have discovered that cartilage plays an active role in the destruction and remodelling of joints seen in rheumatoid arthritis, rather than being an 'innocent bystander' as previously thought.Pain tolerance levels between men and women are similar
Resilience, a person's ability to overcome adverse circumstances, is the main quality associated with pain tolerance among patients and their adjustment to chronic pain.Some sickle cell patients miss out on treatment
Experiencing discrimination because of their race or health condition can influence just how much trust people put into the health profession.Researchers unlock new mechanism in pain management
It's in the brain where we perceive the unpleasant sensations of pain, and researchers have long been examining how calcium channels in the brain and peripheral nervous system contribute to the development of chronic pain conditions.
More Chronic Pain Current Events and Chronic Pain News Articles
Best Practices in Chronic Pain Management-Multidimensional Assessment to Multimodal Treatment|
by Integritas Communications Group
This multimedia eBook examines neurobiologic processes that contribute to chronic pain. Expert faculty also address how new mechanistic insights should shape best practices in pain assessment and treatment. The goal is to help clinicians maximize analgesia, functioning, and patient safety.
Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering|
by Rob Prince (Author)
For anyone dealing with ongoing pain, they know that not all pain relief comes from a bottle of pills. Living with a chronic condition can be relentless and not everyone reaches a point of complete healing. As a sufferer of chronic pain himself, author Rob Prince explores the spiritual aspects of pain, addressing the difficult questions and realities of a chronic condition. The reader will learn about: . What the Scriptures have to say about healing . Handling the disappointment of unanswered prayers . Fighting your pain with proper diet, exercise, and stress management In the pages of Chronic Pain, discover how to see God at work along the journey and learn ways to live fully in spite of pain.
Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain|
by Pete Egoscue (Author), Roger Gittines (Author)
Starting today, you don't have to live in pain.
That is the revolutionary message of this breakthrough system for eliminating chronic pain without drugs, surgery, or expensive physical therapy. Developed by Pete Egoscue, a nationally renowned physiologist and sports injury consultant to some of today's top athletes, the Egoscue Method has an astounding 95 percent success rate. The key is a series of gentle exercises and carefully constructed stretches called E-cises. Inside you'll find detailed photographs and step-by-step instructions for dozens of e-cizes specifically designed to provide quick and lasting relief of:
Lower back pain, hip problems, sciatica, and bad knees Carpal tunnel syndrome and even some forms of arthritis Migraines and other headaches, stiff...
Chronic Pain Syndromes: Current Concepts and Treatment Strategies|
by CME Resource/NetCE
Chronic pain imposes a distressing sensory and emotional experience on the patient and potentially leads to life-altering negative outcomes. The purpose of this course is to provide clinicians with the information necessary to identify and appropriately manage chronic pain syndromes in accordance with evidence-based guidelines. In addition, members of the public may use this course to enhance their personal knowledge of the subject matter presented.
Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:
1. Describe key points in the pathophysiology and treatment of endometriosis.
2. Evaluate options available for the management of pain associated with sickle cell disease.
3. Identify postherpetic neuralgia and available treatment modalities.
Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Workbook (Treatments That Work)|
by John Otis (Author)
Chronic pain has a multitude of causes, many of which are not well understood or effectively treated by medical therapies. Individuals with chronic pain often report that pain interferes with their ability to engage in occupational, social, or recreational activities. Sufferers' inability to engage in these everyday activities may contribute to increased isolation, negative mood and physical deconditioning, which in turn can contribute to their experience of pain.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven effective at managing various chronic pain conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, and tension/migraine headache. The CBT treatment engages patients in an active coping process aimed at changing maladaptive thoughts and behaviors...
Total Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Chronic Pain and Depression|
by Gary Kaplan (Author), Donna Beech (Contributor)
About 100 million Americans live with some form of chronic pain—more than the combined number who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But chronic pain has always been a mystery. It often returns at the slightest provocation, even when doctors can’t find anything wrong. Oddly enough, whether the pain is physical or emotional, traumatic or slight, our brains register all pain as the same thing, and these signals can keep firing in the nervous system for months, even years.In Total Recovery, Dr. Gary Kaplan argues that we’ve been thinking about disease all wrong. Drawing on dramatic patient stories and cutting-edge research, the book reveals that chronic physical and emotional pain are two sides of the same coin. New discoveries show that disease is not the result of a...
Tame Your Pain: 4 Ways You Can Ease Your Chronic Pain Today|
Michael Graveley, M.D. is board certified in Family Medicine with a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Sports Medicine. He is also a licensed physician acupuncturist. Dr. Graveley has extensive experience treating chronic pain, both as a medical doctor and as an acupuncturist. He has a unique approach to treating chronic pain that actively involves the patient in the process. In this book, Dr. Graveley offers the advice that has helped many of his patients who suffer from pain conditions, including arthritis, headaches, neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, and diabetic neuropathy.
Dr. Graveley’s patients say the following:
“Dr. Graveley really understands how my pain affected me. His advice helped me get my life back.”
The Chronic Pain Cure: The Step by Step Guide to No More Pain and Experiencing Pain Relief for Life (Chronic Pain, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Fibromyalgia, Arthritus Book 1)|
Discover How To Rid Yourself of Chronic Pain for the Rest of Your Life!
You're about to discover proven methods for overcoming chronic pain and reduce the risk of continued pain. There are answers! We can now manage and overcome pain in ways that we never thought possible, without prescription medications, side effects, or doctors. Learn how Today!
Here is a Preview of What You'll Learn...
Understanding Your Pain
How to Improve Your Willpower
How to Utilize Your Internal Healer
How to Leave Your Emotional Baggage Behind
How to Eat Right to Feel Better
More Solutions for Success
Take action right away to overcome your chronic pain and get your life back by downloading, "How to Cure Chronic Pain".
The Mindfulness Solution to Pain: Step-by-Step Techniques for Chronic Pain Management|
by Jackie Gardner-Nix (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Foreword)
Your mood, thoughts, and emotions can affect your perception of pain and even your ability to heal. In fact, your past life experiences influence your current physical challenges: “your biography influences your biology.” While treatments like medication and physical therapy can be enormously beneficial to the body, to maximize pain relief, it’s necessary to take advantage of the mind’s healing abilities. This book offers a revolutionary new treatment approach, mindfulness-based chronic pain management, that helps you harness your mind’s power to quiet your pain and put you in control.Mindfulness practice, which includes stationary meditations, movement meditations, mindful art, and other strategies, will help you: Understand how emotions and thoughts affect physical...
The Chronic Pain Care Workbook: A Self-Treatment Approach to Pain Relief Using the Behavioral Assessment of Pain Questionnaire (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)|
by Michael J. Lewandowski (Author)
A Powerful Step-by-Step Approach to Dealing with Chronic PainSixteen years ago, psychologist and author Michael Lewandowski devised a series of questions for patients suffering from chronic pain to identify specific factors that aggravate and perpetuate pain. Those questions became the Behavioral Assessment of Pain (BAP) questionnaire, which is now used throughout the world in the treatment of chronic pain. Now, for the first time, this book brings this powerful set of tools to people just like you who are looking for a way to live better with pain.The tools in this book will give you control over your own pain-management process by helping you monitor your responses to pain. Use the assessments to help gauge your levels of physical and emotional pain, sleep habits, and general ability to...