Meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy, which are not conventional treatments for back pain, seem to be effective in alleviating the common condition of back pain say researchers.

After 26 weeks, researchers say patients treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) and yoga had “clinically meaningful improvement” of functional limitations compared to those with usual care.

The improvement was measured at 61 per cent for MSBR and yoga, ahead of 58 per cent for CBT and 44 per cent for conventional medicine.

epa05195857 Yogi practitioners practice yoga asana/meditate as they complete 108 sun salutations to raise awareness of human trafficking around the world during the Yoga Stops Traffick, Johannesburg, South Africa, 05 March 2016. Yoga Stops Traffick is a worldwide one-day yoga event to raise awareness about human trafficking.  EPA/SHIRAAZ MOHAMED

Meditation and behavioural therapy, with yoga exercise may be a good option for those with chronic lower back pain. Photo: EPA

The study, published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association (JAMA), was a clinical trial with 342 adults ages 20-70 who had suffered from lower back pain for an average of seven years.

One third, selected at random, was treated with MBSR and yoga, while another third used cognitive behavioural therapy, which helps patients identify and resolve bad behavioural choices and negative thoughts.

The last third was treated with pain medications.

“These findings suggest that MBSR may be an effective treatment option for patients with chronic low back pain,” the authors wrote.

“Although understanding the specificity of treatment effects, mechanisms of action and role of mediators are important issues for researchers, they are merely academic for many clinicians and their patients.” – AFP Relaxnews