Mindfulness physical therapy, pain management, rehabilitation

Mindfulness and Pain: An Overview Article

How can mindfulness help people in pain? I describe my experience in an article, Mindful Awareness Training: A promising treatment approach for persistent pain, recently published in The Pain Practitioner, a publication of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management.1 In this article, I define mindfulness and discuss the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction group model as well as integrating mindfulness into individual patient care. I highlight results of both a randomized trial and a qualitative study examining mindfulness training for chronic back pain.

I also share a case study of a participant in my Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program who enrolled in the course to help manage chronic back pain. I include an extended quote in which he describes how learning mindful awareness changed his experience of his body and enabled him to more effectively reduce his pain. The following is a short excerpt:

“But perhaps most important, the process of focusing my awareness and being present in my body has begun to teach me to sense, discriminate and control my muscles in ways I had never thought I could before. This allows me to change my muscle engagement and the feelings in them and, in many cases, substantially alleviate pain. This has enabled me to increase my activity and return to doing things I enjoy.”

The article offers an overview of the practical applications of mindfulness to pain treatment and would be especially helpful to someone new to the topic.


1McManus C. Mindful Awareness Training: A promising treatment approach for persistent pain. The Pain Practitioner, publication of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management. 2017; January/February:20-22.