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Mind-body Therapies| Pain| Older adult

Posted Nov 17 2009 10:00pm

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Many people with chronic pain perform mind-body therapies such as biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, hypnosis, tai chi, qi gong, and yoga.

Are these therapies feasible, safe and effective for pain reduction in older adults with chronic nonmalignant pain?

This study reviewed 381 articles retrieved through search strategies, 20 trials that included older adults with chronic pain.

Fourteen articles included participants aged 50 years and above, while only two of these focused specifically on persons aged >or=65 years. An additional six articles included persons aged >or=50 years. Fourteen articles were controlled trials. There is some support for the efficacy of progressive muscle relaxation plus guided imagery for osteoarthritis pain.

  • Meditation and Tai Chi: There is limited support for improving function or coping in older adults with low back pain or osteoarthritis.
  • Uncontrolled biofeedback trial: Both older and younger adults had significant reductions in pain following the intervention. However, in the several studies that included older adults, the benefits were not analyzed by age.
  • Tai chi, yoga, hypnosis, and progressive muscle relaxation: Significant association with pain reduction in these studies. These benefits were also not analyzed by age for the older adult.

The conclusions were that these eight mind-body interventions reviewed are feasible and safe in an older population.

There is not yet sufficient evidence to conclude that these eight mind-body interventions reduce chronic nonmalignant pain in older adults. Further research should focus on larger, clinical trials of mind-body interventions to answer this question. Morone NE, Greco CM: Mind-body interventions for chronic pain in older adults: a structured review. Pain Medicine. 8(4):359-75, 2007).

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