Lin TH, Tam KW, Yang YL, et al. Meditation-Based Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Med. 2022 Feb 28. pii: 6539774. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnac037. (Systematic review)

BACKGROUND: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is among the most common types of pain in adults. Currently, injections and analgesic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often provided for patients with CLBP. However, their effectiveness remains questionable, and the safest approach to CLBP remains debated. Meditation-based therapies constitute an alternative treatment with high potential for widespread availability. We evaluated the applicability of meditation-based therapies for CLBP management.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy of meditation-based therapies for CLBP management. The primary outcomes were pain intensity, quality of life, and pain-related disability; the secondary outcomes were the experienced distress or anxiety and pain bothersomeness in the patients. The PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases were searched for studies published from their inception until July 2021, without language restrictions.

RESULTS: We reviewed 12 randomized controlled trials with 1153 patients. In 10 trials, meditation-based therapies significantly reduced the CLBP pain intensity compared with nonmeditation therapies (standardized mean difference [SMD] -0.27, 95% CI = -0.43 to - 0.12, P = 0.0006). In 7 trials, meditation-based therapies also significantly reduced CLBP bothersomeness compared with nonmeditation therapies (SMD -0.21, 95% CI = -0.34 to - 0.08, P = 0.002). In 3 trials, meditation-based therapies significantly improved patient quality of life compared with nonmeditation therapies (SMD 0.27, 95% CI = 0.17 to 0.37, P < 0.00001).

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, meditation-based therapies constitute a safe and effective alternative approach for CLBP management.

Discipline Area Score
Physician 6 / 7
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Physician rater

Less newsworthy since it is not truly original research, just another meta-analysis.
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