Meditation effective for chronic pain: study

by Avis Favaro, News Staff, Aug 28, 2005

Toronto, Canada -- Canadian doctors have presented a study that shows promising results for using meditation to treat chronic pain. The study was spearheaded by Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix, who runs a meditation program at the Sunnybrook and St. Michael's hospitals in Toronto.

"We are decreasing their bodily pain, we're decreasing the intensity of their pain and we're increasing their quality of life," Gardner-Nix told CTV News.

She turned to meditation techniques when she found that pain medications were inadequate for some patients, who continued to suffer or had to endure side-effects.

"I've been an expert in pain medications for a long time – many years – and what I found was that they only did so much," Gardner-Nix said.

She now treats chronic, untreatable pain with a technique called mindfulness meditation. Her method is based on a program created by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Stress Reduction Center at the University of Massachusetts. Many experts see Kabat-Zinn as a pioneer in the use of medical meditation, and Gardner-Nix studied with him personally.

But while Kabat-Zinn's method is practiced throughout Canada, experts feel there is a lack of data to prove its effectiveness. Through her study, Gardner-Nix found that after 10 weeks involving 10 to 20 minutes of daily meditation, many patients were better able to manage their pain.

Patient Corrine Humphreys experienced chronic pain for over a decade before finding peace through mindfulness meditation. A car accident and spinal injury left her with nerve damage and unending discomfort. It even made simple tasks like driving a car excruciating ordeals.

"I had quit work, I had quit school. I laid in bed and never got out of bed, and basically prayed every day that I would die," Humphreys told CTV News.

She tried various pain mediations, including morphine and Demerol, but even the highest doses were ineffective. Out of options, doctors implanted an electrical implant in her spine to control her suffering, but even that was not enough. Humphreys began to contemplate suicide.

Finally, she turned to meditation. Humphreys was skeptical but felt she had nothing to lose. The results were surprising.

"I was very shocked at how well it worked and how fast it worked for me," Humphreys said.

In fact, Gardner-Nix's program was so effective that Humphreys was able to stop using her pain medication "cold turkey."

Dr. Roman Jovey of the Canadian Pain Society is interested in what patients like Humphreys have to say about meditation, and find Gardner-Nix's study promising.

"There are so many people who are suffering with so few resources that anything that has the potential to help patients manage their chronic pain is a good thing," he told CTV News.

Gardner-Nix's program has taught mindfulness meditation to 370 patients. Her findings were presented during the Australian International Pain Conference on August 24.

So far, data on 45 patients has shown significant improvements in pain management through Gardner-Nix's course. A second study involving more patients will be published later this year.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: