The principle goal of this study is to assess the feasibility of recruitment and adherence to an evidence-based, eight-session meditation program based on Dr. Lynn Waelde’s Inner Resources for Stress Relief for a community health clinic for adults with chronic pain, and to develop initial estimates of treatment effects of measures of pain and physical functioning.
Based on literature review, we hypothesize that Inner Resources will teach chronic pain patients to identify thoughts and feelings that may exacerbate physical pain and to consciously let go of these thoughts and feelings, and breathing exercises that may help with relaxation, reduction of physical pain and improved functioning. We predict that adherence rate will be approximately 70% and that patient satisfaction with the program will be high. The significance of this study is in its potential to develop an effective adjunctive, mind-body treatment for chronic pain patients in a community health setting for chronic pain patients who would normally only receive one modality of treatment for pain (such as medication only).
A need for community and evidence based mind-body interventions:
According to the American Pain Society (APS), pain is the most common reason for which people seek health care; an estimated 9 in 10 Americans suffer regularly from pain and at some point in their lives. Chronic pain is a public health issue that often is undertreated, which has many implications for patients suffering from chronic pain. For instance, patients suffering from chronic pain often experience impairments in daily activities, a diminished quality of life, increased care costs, and other significant physical, psychological, and financial problems (National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) & Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), 2001). Given that there are psychosocial factors that may contribute to or exacerbate chronic pain, it stands that the medical model treatment of pain is insufficient in the management of pain. However, pain management has not been a priority in funding or service, especially in community health settings where there are high rates of chronic pain and inadequate pain treatment. Further, ethnic minorities are less likely to receive adequate pain management services, treatment, and even pain medication (Anderson, Richman, Hurley, Palos, Valero, Mendoa, Gning, & Cleeland, 2002).
Chronic pain and the mind-body approach
In a multidisciplinary approach to pain management, there are a wide variety of treatments that are available for chronic pain, one of which is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) approaches (Foster, Phillips, Hamel & Eisenberg, 2000). A mind-body technique under the CAM approach is meditation. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be effective in reducing subjective pain ratings, pain interference, number of medical symptoms, and reductions comorbid in mood disturbances (Kabat-Zinn, 1982)....