Though pain intensity and some mental health measures improved in both groups, those using CBT did not see improvement beyond 26 weeks. Those using MBSR, however, continued to see improvement at 52 weeks, leading researchers to conclude MBSR may be an effective treatment for chronic low-back pain.
MBSR brings together elements of mindfulness meditation and yoga, whereas CBT is a form of psychotherapy that trains individuals to modify specific thoughts and behaviors.
For the study, participants in the group using MBSR and the group using CBT attended a two-hour group session on their respective approach per week for eight weeks and supplemented their treatment with workbooks and CDs for practice at home. The study was led by Daniel Cherkin, Ph.D., a senior scientific investigator at the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle.