A brief mindfulness meditation training increases pain threshold and accelerates modulation of response to tonic pain in an experimental study

Keren Reiner, Michal Granot, Eliran Soffer, Joshua Dan Lipsitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective. Research shows that mindfulness meditation (MM) affects pain perception; however, studies have yet to measure patterns of change over time. We examined effects of MM on perception of experimental heat pain using multiple psychophysical indices, including pattern of change in response to tonic painful stimuli. We also tested the potential moderating role of baseline mindfulness. Method. Forty participants were randomly assigned to a brief MM training or control group. We assessed: a) heat pain threshold (HPT), b) temperature which induces pain at a fixed, target intensity level, and c) response pattern over time to tonic heat pain. Results. Compared to control group, the MM group showed increased HPT and more rapid attenuation of pain intensity for tonic pain stimuli. Moderation analyses indicated that baseline mindfulness moderated effects of MM on HPT. Conclusions. A brief MM intervention appears to affect perception of experimental pain both by increasing pain threshold and accelerating modulation of response. Findings may help elucidate mechanisms of MM for chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-635
Number of pages8
JournalPain Medicine
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Moderation
  • Pain modulation
  • Pain threshold
  • Tonic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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