Can mind-body therapies help reduce opioid-treated pain?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
El acceso al contenido completo es sólo para profesionales sanitarios registrados. El acceso al contenido completo es sólo para profesionales sanitarios registrados.

Findings from a new systematic review and meta-analysis suggest the use of mind-body therapies (MBTs) may be associated with moderate improvements in pain among adults using opioids for pain.

As part of the study, researchers analysed data from 60 reports, including 6,404 people, to evaluate the association of MBTs with pain and opioid dose reduction. The studies tested hypnosis (n=25), relaxation (n=14), guided imagery (n=7), cognitive behavioural therapy interventions (n=7), therapeutic suggestion (n=6) and meditation (n=5). 

Overall results from the meta-analysis suggested MBTs had a moderate association with reduced pain intensity and a small association with reduced opioid dosing compared with a range of control arms. Moderate-to-large effect size improvements in pain outcomes were found for meditation, hypnosis, suggestion and cognitive behavioural therapy but not for the other interventions. 

The authors noted the strength of the evidence for the therapeutic effects of MBTs on pain and opioid dose reduction was moderate. 

Writing in JAMA Internal Medicine, they said practitioners should consider MBTs as non-pharmacologic adjuncts to opioid analgesic therapy. 

“Future studies should carefully quantify opioid dosing variables to determine the association of mind-body therapies with opioid-related outcomes," the authors concluded.