A new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine finds that a technique designed to deal with chronic pain called “affective self-awareness” can help those suffering from fibromyalgia.
As part of the therapy, patients learn about the emotion-pain connection. Specific techniques, including mindfulness meditation and “expressive” writing, are applied to help people recognize and deal with the emotions that may be contributing to their pain. Science recognize that fibromyalgia sufferers are more like to have experienced stressful life events, such as childhood abuse, marital problems and high levels of job stress. There is also evidence that they are relatively less aware of their own emotions and more reluctant to express their feelings, particularly anger.
Patients are also encouraged to return to any exercise or other activities that they have been avoiding due to pain.
Six months later, 46 percent of the treatment group had at least a 30-percent reduction in their pain ratings compared with scores at the outset. Twenty-one percent had a 50-percent or greater reduction.