The Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Treatments for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain affects a significant proportion of the Canadian and US population and is a leading driver in the opioid crisis. They are usually non-life threatening and debilitating, however, most healthcare professionals opt to prescribe pain-reliefs drugs despite evidence showing pharmacological treatments often cause lower mental wellbeing and more functional limitations. Non-pharmacological treatments, such as mindfulness-based treatments (MBTs), are a fairly new approach that have been proven to be better at long-term pain management for chronic pain conditions. MBTs also provide opportunities for creating asynchronous and virtual delivery methods of treatment for chronic pain. This study seeks to synthesize research studies conducted on the delivery of MBTs through virtual and asynchronous methods. Five studies were used in this review and from which seven themes emerged: motivation, patient empowerment, reduced medication overuse, accessibility, improved other areas of life, technological difficulties, and consistency. Virtual MBTs can greatly improve the quality, efficiency and accessibility of chronic pain services through reducing healthcare expenditures, removing transportation barriers and providing immediate access to care. Although MBTs are a powerful pain management tool, there is still a lack of research in the field, especially concerning remote methods of delivery. Additional large-scale studies and standardization of MBTs are needed to improve the efficacy and delivery of services.