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Mind over matter: Beating pain and painkillers
Date:2/4/2014

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."

To test the treatment, 115 chronic pain patients were randomly assigned to eight weeks of either MORE or conventional support group therapy, and outcomes were measured through questionnaires at pre- and post-treatment, and again at a three-month follow-up. Nearly three-quarters of the group misused opioid painkillers before starting the program by taking higher doses than prescribed, using opioids to alleviate stress and anxiety or another method of unauthorized self-medication with opioids.

Among the skills taught by MORE were a daily 15-minute mindfulness practice session guided by a CD and three minutes of mindful breathing prior to taking opioid medication. This practice was intended to increase awareness of opioid cravinghelping participants clarify whether opioid use was driven by urges versus a legitimate need for pain relief.

"People who are in chronic pain need relief, and opioids are medically appropriate for many individuals," Garland said. "However, a new option is needed because existing treatments may not adequately alleviate pain while avoiding the problems that stem from chronic opioid use."

MORE is currently being tested in a pilot brain imaging trial as a smoking cessation treatment, and there are plans to test the intervention with people suffering from mental health problems who also have alcohol addiction. Further testing on active-duty soldiers with chronic pain and a larger trial among civilians is planned. If studies continue to demonstrate positive outcomes, MORE could be prescribed by doctors as an adjunct to traditional pain management services.


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Contact: Eric Garland
eric.garland@socwk.utah.edu
801-581-3826
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert  

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