Mindfulness meditation provides pain relief without opioid study finds

Mar 15, 2016 | | Say something

Mindfulness meditation provides pain relief without opioid study finds ;

A meditation collective in Sri Lanka. Image: Wikipedia.

Everyone knows that a stumble hurts. What stops you from getting hurt is the main process pain-blocking body – the natural production of opioids.

based approaches to reduce cognitive found pain, such as hypnosis, acupuncture, distraction and even the placebo response, it has been shown to work through this system ,. But he does meditation also use opioids for pain relief?

In a study published in the current issue of Journal of Neuroscience , a team led by Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, reports that mindfulness meditation does not use the endogenous opioid system to reduce pain.

“Our finding was surprising and could be important for the millions of chronic pain patients seeking swift action, treatment is not based on opioids to relieve their pain,” Zeidan said.

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The Institute of Medicine estimates that approximately 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain at a cost of more than $ 600 billion a year for treatment. And because of the increase in the number of people addicted to opiate drugs, from prescription drugs to heroin, the Centers for Disease Control has labeled the problem of an epidemic.

To determine whether meditation uses opioids body to reduce pain, Wake investigators Forest Baptist function they injected study participants either with a drug called naloxone, which blocks lowering effects of pain opioid, or saline placebo.

In this randomized, double-blind, 78, pain-free healthy volunteers were divided into four groups for the four days (20 minutes per day) trial. The groups consisted of: meditation, plus naloxone; control is not meditation, plus naloxone; meditation plus placebo saline; or control do not meditation more saline placebo.

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Pain was induced by using a thermal probe for heating a small area of ​​the skin of the participants of 49 degrees Celsius (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit), a heat most people find very painful. Study participants rated their pain using a sliding scale.

Zeidan found that participants pain ratings were reduced by 24 percent from the baseline measurement in the group receiving naloxone meditation. This is important because it showed that even when the body opioid receptors were blocked chemically, meditation was still able to significantly reduce pain by using a different route, he said. pain scores were also reduced by 21 percent in the meditation group that received placebo saline injection.

In comparison, the control groups reported increases in meditation without pain, whether received naloxone injection or saline placebo.

“Our team has shown through four different studies that meditation, after a short training period, can reduce experimentally induced pain,” Zeidan said. “And now this study shows that meditation does not work through the opioid system of the body.

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“This study adds to the growing evidence that something unique is happening with how meditation reduces pain. These results are especially significant to those who have built up a tolerance to drugs opiate-based and are looking for a non-addictive way to reduce your pain. “

The next step for the team Zeidan is to determine whether and how mindfulness meditation may affect a spectrum of chronic pain conditions .

“At least, we believe that meditation could be used in conjunction with other traditional drug therapies to improve pain relief without producing the addictive side effects and other consequences that may arise from opiate drugs, “he said.

This article was originally published on medicalxpress, Read the original article

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