Meditation as a therapeutic opportunity in chronic pain: personal experience in a Thai population living in Italy

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ABSTRACT
Introduction. Meditation can and should be considered an important tool in non-pharmacological approach to chronic pain (CP) treatment.
Aim of the study. Comparing expert meditators with non-experienced meditators in chronic pain control.
Materials and methods. Subjects: 78 subjects (35 men, 43 women, mean age 45.2 ± 17.6 years, range 10-72 ), but only those older than 30 years were involved in the study: 60 subjects (27 men, 33 women, average age 54.1 ± 10.4 years, range 31-72). Among the 28 subjects studied (46.6%, 12 men, 16 women, mean age 53.2 ± 8.6 years, range 48-67 ) reported having chronic pain, 16 of them stated that they suffered from chronic low back pain and 12 stated that they suffered from osteoarthritis in the knees. Individuals with chronic pain were divided into 2 groups: experienced meditators (EM, with over 10 years of practice, able to practice meditation, in every single practice session, for a period between 40 and 60 minutes); not experts meditators (NEM, less than 3 years practice, able to practice meditation, in every single session of practice, for not more than 20 minutes).
Results. In the 28 subjects with CP, the average rating of the CP was equal to 5.1 ± 1.8. After 5 consecutive days of practice, the EM reported a significant reduction (p <0.01 ), pain (VAS 3.0 ± 0.5) compared to baseline, while the NEM reported only a modest reduction in pain (VAS 4.4 ± 0.4 ) that is not significant. Did not reach the significance of the comparison between the 2 groups. Discussion. The result obtained from the comparison between the two groups was not statistically significant, and this may be due to the fact that the number of subjects observed is modest. So, more time is devoted to meditation and more significant results will we have, even if we can see some improvements from the use of this practice from the early sessions. Keywords: chronic pain, meditation.

Also available in : Italiano