Mindfulness significantly reduced pain-related stress relative to simple relaxation

Feuille, M., & Pargament, K. (2013). Pain, mindfulness, and spirituality: A randomized controlled trial comparing effects of mindfulness and relaxation on pain-related outcomes in migraineurs. Journal of Health Psychology. Published online before print. Abstract.

In order to examine mindfulness as an intervention for pain, 107 migraineurs, predominantly college students, were randomly assigned to brief training in standardized mindfulness, spiritualized mindfulness, and simple relaxation instructions.

After 2 weeks of daily practice, participants completed the cold-pressor task while practicing their assigned technique, and their experience of the task was assessed. Among the 74 study-completers, standardized mindfulness led to significantly reduced pain-related stress relative to simple relaxation, providing modest support for the utility of mindfulness in pain management.

Pain-related outcomes in the spiritualized mindfulness condition were similar to those of standardized mindfulness, though spirituality did appear to enhance mindful awareness.