HealthDay News — For patients with chronic pain (CP), both mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) improve physical functioning, pain intensity, and depression, according to a review published online Jan. 31 in Evidence-Based Mental Health.

Eve-Ling Khoo, from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to compare MBSR to CBT for the ability to improve physical functioning and reduce pain intensity and distress in patients with CP. Data were included from 21 studies: 13 compared CBT to control (1095 participants), 7 compared MBSR to control (545 participants), and 1 compared MBSR to CBT and control (341 participants). Twelve of the studies were of fair or good quality.

The researchers found that based on a random-effects network meta-analysis, compared with control, there were relative advantages for MBSR and CBT for change in physical functioning, pain intensity, and depression. There was no evidence of an important difference between MBSR and CBT.

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“Additional and more rigorous research that compares CBT and MBSR directly and includes more information about patient characteristics, therapist training, and treatment adherence is needed to draw definitive conclusions to inform guidelines,” the authors write.

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