DIAGNOSIS: Chronic Pain

TREATMENT: Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Chronic Pain


  • Basic premise: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is structured training in mindfulness as a self-employed approach to relate differently to physical pain in more accepting and nonjudgmental ways. It does this by helping individuals increase present-moment awareness with an attitude of acceptance, without getting caught up in thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. It provides structure around new ways to respond and cope with internal and external stimuli.


Cherkin, D. C., Sherman, K. J., Balderson, B. H., Cook, A. J., Anderson, M. L., Hawkes, R. J., Hansen, K. E., & Turner, J. A. (2016). Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction vs cognitive behavioral therapy or usual care on back pain and functional limitations in adults with chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 315(12), 1240–1249.

Gaylord, S. A., Palsson, O. S., Garland, E. L., Faurot, K. R., Coble, R. S., Mann, J. D., Frey, W., Leniek, K., & Whitehead, W. E. (2011). Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology106(9), 1678–1688.

Khoo, E. L., Small, R., Cheng, W., Hatchard, T., Glynn, B., Rice, D. B., Skidmore, B., Kenny, S., Hutton, B., & Poulin, P. A. (2019). Comparative evaluation of group-based mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive behavioural therapy for the treatment and management of chronic pain: A systematic review and network meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Mental Health22(1), 26–35.

Morone, N. E., Greco, C. M., Moore, C. G., Rollman, B. L., Lane, B., Morrow, L. A., Glynn, N. W., & Weiner, D. K. (2016). A mind-body program for older adults with chronic low back pain: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine176(3), 329–337.

Pérez-Aranda, A., Feliu-Soler, A., Montero-Marín, J., García-Campayo, J., Andrés-Rodríguez, L., Borràs, X., Rozadilla-Sacanell, A., Peñarrubia-Maria, M. T., Angarita-Osorio, N., McCracken, L. M., & Luciano, J. V. (2019). A randomized controlled efficacy trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction compared with an active control group and usual care for fibromyalgia: The EUDAIMON study. Pain, 160(11), 2508-2523.