Can Power of the Mind Control Chronic Pain?

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 7:27 pm (UTC+0)
4 comments

Millions of people around the world live each day in pain (Shanghai killer whale via Wikimedia Commons)

Millions around the world live with pain every day. (Shanghai killer whale via Wikimedia Commons)

Utah researchers say they’ve developed a technique that allows patients to use the power of their minds to help treat chronic pain.

One in five people worldwide suffers from daily chronic pain, according to a 2004 report. A 2011 paper from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) showed that one in three U.S. adults is affected by this condition.

The University of Utah’s Eric Garland said his team’s technique not only helps relieve pain, but can also decrease prescription opioid misuse among chronic pain patients.

A variety of therapies are used to treat chronic pain including over-the-counter pain relievers,   exercise and diet, alternative medical therapies such as acupuncture, and prescription opiate-based pain medications, which can have serious side effects and lead to dependency.

Garland calls his new intervention technique Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) and said it is designed to train people to react differently to pain, stress and opioid-related cues.

“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.”

Eric Garland, from the University of Utah, developed a new mindfulness-focused treatment for people with chronic pain (Nick Steffens)

Eric Garland, from the University of Utah, developed a new mindfulness-focused treatment for people with chronic pain (Nick Steffens)

In a study published online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Garland said the new treatment method led to a 63- percent reduction in the misuse of opioids, as compared to a 32-percent decrease among those who took part in a conventional support group.

Patients who were a part of the new treatment group also reported a 22 percent drop in pain-related impairment, something that the researchers said continued for three months after the end of their treatment period.

According to Garland, the MORE technique zeroes in on the basic processes involved in both chronic pain and the abuse of opioids, by combining three therapeutic components; mindfulness training, reappraisal and savoring.

The mindfulness training component consists of training the patient’s mind to increase its awareness, gain control over their attention, and learn to control automatic habits.

The reappraisal module is the process of taking the meaning of a stressful or negative experience and turning it around in such a way that it is seen as something positive and promotes growth.

Savoring is a method of learning that teaches patients to center their attention on positive events in their lives, heightening their sensitivity to naturally occurring positive experiences, such as enjoying a beautiful sunset or the special feeling of closeness with a loved one.

Painkillers containing opioids are sometimes prescribed by medical professionals for chronic pain, but they can have serious side effects and could promote dependency (e-Magine Art.com  via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Painkillers containing opioids are sometimes prescribed for chronic pain, but can have serious side effects and could promote dependency. (e-Magine Art.com via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Right now, Garland’s MORE technique is being tested in a preliminary brain imaging trial as a way to help smokers quit the habit.

Plans for further testing include working with those who have mental health problems or are addicted to alcohol. If these trials are successful, the research team plans to work with active-duty soldiers suffering with chronic pain while also conducting a larger trial among the general population.

Garland and his team envision the MORE technique as something that could be prescribed by doctors as an addition to traditional pain management methods.

4 Responses to “Can Power of the Mind Control Chronic Pain?”

  1. Sriana Azis says:

    The knock nerves with toothpick or brush and herb Milliherb therapy. Combination therapy aims to relieve symptoms of pain, inflammation, tyrhoid, tumor and accelerate healing. Remember “all diseases can cure”
    The advantage of this therapy can be done by the people themselves or the patient plays an active role for the disease recover quickly. This therapy can increase patient confidence that the disease must be cured

    • kenneth angel says:

      So why isn’t it taking over the world of pain medicine? I’ve been using psychological therapies for decaids… they are adjuncts at best… frauds at worst but never replace conventional medicine for the seriously injured.

      Cite your unbiased, neutral, controlled studies!

      Kenneth Angel MHA, Psy. T.; J.D.

  2. […] such as enjoying a beautiful sunset or the special feeling of closeness with a loved one. MORE __________________ Kinda funny how, instead of a 'sequester', the Wall Street bankers got […]

  3. […] The University of Utahs Eric Garland said his teams technique not only helps relieve pain, but can also decrease prescription opioid misuse among chronic pain patients. A variety of therapies are used to treat chronic pain including over-the-counter pain relievers, exercise and diet, alternative medical therapies such as acupuncture, and prescription opiate-based pain medications , which can have serious side chiropractor north york effects and lead to dependency. Garland calls his new intervention technique Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) and said it is designed to train people to react differently to pain, stress and opioid-related cues. 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 bodyso by changing brain functioning, you alter the functioning of the body. Eric Garland, from the University of Utah, developed a new mindfulness-focused treatment for people with chronic pain (Nick Steffens) In a study published online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Garland said the new treatment method led to a 63- percent reduction in the misuse of opioids , as compared to a 32-percent decrease among those who took part in a conventional support group . Patients who were a part of the new treatment group also reported a 22 percent drop in pain-related impairment, something that the researchers said continued for three months after the end of their treatment period. According to Garland, the MORE technique zeroes in on the basic processes involved in both chronic pain and the abuse of opioids, by combining three therapeutic components; mindfulness training, reappraisal and savoring. The mindfulness training component consists of training the patients mind to increase its awareness, gain control over their attention, and learn to control automatic habits. The reappraisal module is the process of taking the meaning of a stressful or negative experience and turning it around in such a way that it is seen as something positive and promotes growth. Savoring is a method of learning that teaches patients to center their attention on positive events in their lives, heightening their sensitivity to naturally occurring positive experiences, such as enjoying a beautiful sunset or the special feeling of closeness with a loved one. Painkillers containing opioids are sometimes prescribed for chronic pain, but can have serious side effects and could promote dependency. (e-Magine Art.com via Flickr/Creative Commons) Right now, Garlands MORE technique is being tested in a preliminary brain imaging trial as a way to help smokers quit the habit. For the original version including any supplementary north york chiropractor images or video, visit http://blogs.voanews.com/science-world/2014/02/05/can-power-of-the-mind-control-chronic-pain/ […]

About Science World

Science World

Science World is VOA’s on-air and online magazine covering science, health, technology and the environment.

Hosted by Rick Pantaleo, Science World‘s informative, entertaining and easy-to-understand presentation offers the latest news, features and one-on-one interviews with researchers, scientists, innovators and other news makers.

Listen to a Recent Program

Listen Sidebar

Broadcast Schedule

Broadcast Schedule

Science World begins after the newscast on Friday at 2200, Saturday at 0300, 1100 and 1900 and Sunday at 0100, 0400, 0900, 1100 and 1200.

Science World may also be heard on some VOA affiliates after the news on Saturday at 0900 and 1100. (All times UTC).

Contact Us

E-Mail
science@voanews.com

Postal Mail
Science World
Voice of America
330 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20237
USA