mechanics, chronic low back pain, mindfulness

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction – The Mechanics in Mindfulness

Mindful Mechanics

How to best treat chronic pain is an important study. In a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, three types of treatment strategies implemented resulted in different outcomes in those with chronic lower back pain.

They were:

  1. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  2. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  3. Usual Medical Care

What they found after randomly selecting participants with chronic low back pain into the respective groups was both the Mindfulness-Based Reduction and the Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy outperformed the Usual Medical Care groups.

The MBSR approach was modeled after a book called:

 Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

which includes (Section 1. Paying attention):

  1.  You Have Only Moments to Live
  2.  The Foundations of Mindfulness Practice: Attitudes and Commitment
  3.  The Power of Breathing: Your Unsuspected Ally in the Healing Process
  4.  Sitting Meditation: Nourishing the Domain of Being
  5.  Being in Your Body: The Body-Scan Meditation
  6.  Cultivating Strength, Balance, and Flexibility: Yoga Is Meditation
  7.  Walking Meditation
  8.  A Day of Mindfulness
  9.  Really Doing What You’re Doing: Mindfulness in Daily Life
  10.  Getting Started in the Practice

If you look at the headline and the summary of this research paper, you might be inclined to think the best way to treat chronic low back pain in through the mind. However, if you closely dissect the MBSR strategy there are mechanical strategies throughout the approach. This includes Yoga, Tai Chi and breathing. These are all mechanical and a careful reader must not dismiss the mechanics within the results.

There is a growing movement that mechanics does not matter, but we have to be diligent in our attention to the mechanics ‘within’ these mind-body interventions.