A month ago, while reading and analyzing the latest research regarding treating chronic lower back tension, I discovered numerous research papers on how mindfulness can be beneficial when it comes to controlling chronic lower back pain. The long-term results of mindfulness were far greater than those of other approaches commonly used in the field of healthcare. Then I looked out the peer-reviewed American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) monograph entitled, Current concepts of orthopaedic physical therapy Lower quadrant and discovered that the use of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practices is highly efficient in giving pain relief for patients experiencing stress as a result of a comorbidity. Who doesn’t experience stress when you’ve been struggling with back discomfort for months or even for years?

As I was reading these papers, and becoming excited about this subject of MBSR which is a fairly new one to me. I shouted at my wife who was sitting in the kitchen “Hey Rox, I think I’m going to write my next article about Mindfulness and the ways it can aid in treating those suffering from lower back tension.”

“What do you think &*#% are you have to know about the subject of mindfulness?” she blurted out she laughed.

“Well it’s included found in an APTA monograph, which was just released in 2021 and is one of the most effective methods to treat persistent LBP.” It was a statement I listened the instructions with confidence as I went in the dining room.

“Huh No, not kidding. I’ve used mindfulness in my work and for myself since the 80s. I began reading the research studies of Dr. Jon KabatZin of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.” She speaks with her hands and palms wide as if she’s saying”This is just so old.

“Holy cow, this is the one who is mentioned within the APTA monograph,” I say with incredulous laughter. “Yeah the research of his shows that the results are just as good in comparison to other forms of therapy and could be more effective than medication.”

Roxanna is then able to articulate the same thing that many of us in the field of healthcare have experienced, “Isn’t it interesting that concepts start out as ‘witchcraft’ but become popular and then verified by random controlled studies (RCTs) prior to the time that medical professionals recognizes it as valid.”

This is a normal ritual for many therapies that have made it into the mainstream of healthcare.

Research into Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is the application of a variety of mindfulness and movements-based practices like yoga. In 2016 , in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) researchers evaluated their effects on MBSR for chronic low back pain. They evaluated MBSR with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to standard treatment. According to this study, the goal on CBT CBT group was to alter the thoughts and behavior associated with pain and attitudes, while the MBSR training was focused on yoga and mindfulness. They enrolled 342 patients suffering from chronic LBP from various cities to take part during the trial. The study found that CBT and MBSR CBT or MBSR group could alleviate pain in a similar way as well as both groups improved significantly more than those who received standard care. This study has helped us realize that for many patients suffering from chronic LBP who require some type of psychosocial treatment, MBSR could be used in place of CBT in the event that it’s not available. This can be beneficial to healthcare professionals who manage patients suffering from chronic LBP since CBT requires extensive instruction to ensure that it is administered correctly. The procedure of becoming certified in MBSR is much easier. You don’t need to find an therapist who is certified in MBSR to take part in guided meditation methods. A number of RCTs have assessed the effectiveness of apps for smartphones that use MBSR and found positive results. There are many more random controlled studies (RCTs) available in the literature that demonstrate how beneficial meditation can be to our overall health and wellbeing.

Bottom-up or top-down therapies

Psychosocial or trauma-related treatments are usually classified as one of two categories; top-down and bottom-up. These terms refer to the importance of therapy or the activity targeting two distinct brain regions. The traditional talk-based Psychotherapy as well as the majority of focused on trauma-focused cognitive therapy are considered as top-down. If you are suffering from shrinkage or a shrinking patient, you’re taking top-down therapy. The top-down treatments work on the brain part that is responsible for logic and reasoning. Meditation can also be a top-down therapy and its benefits include developing mindfulness and relaxing your nervous system.

Somatically or body-based therapies are often referred to as bottom-up therapy. They involve a variety that involve exercise, rhythmic movement as well as deep relaxation breathing. The bottom-up treatments directly impact the brain’s “feeling” centers (limbic brain). I am a 90percent bottom-up mindfulness therapy user. The peace I feel when I go for a mountain bike ride is what I use as my medicine. I have never experienced a drug give me the same satisfaction as riding my bicycle. Physical therapists for children work with children who have diagnosis such as Autism, sensory-related disorder or ADHD. Sensory integration therapy is utilized to treat these disorders because of their body and sensory treatment. It is considered a therapy that works from the bottom up because it treats three fundamental senses: vestibular, tactile and proprioception. The children love being moving, with a lot of pressure applied to them in a steady manner, of harnesses and swings. These treatments soothe the child and provide an individualized exposure to movements. Let’s take a look at how meditation exercises (top-down) appear like to various individuals. My wife’s time spent at the park for hours is her meditation state. I can achieve a calm body by the deep breath or doing box breathing. Box breathing (breath for four seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, breathe out four seconds, hold 4 seconds Repeat several times) is a great way of relaxing the nervous system through activating vagal nerve activity, reducing heart rate and reducing the pace of breathing. This is what I do when I’m having trouble trying to sleep. At some point, I am thinking that this is stupid, it’s not working – I get up in the morning and I’m awake.

Different kinds of meditation.

There are many different forms of meditation. Meditation isn’t always done in a lotus position, sitting in lotus spine straight with closed eyes and hands in their traditional position of meditation. Meditation exercises are as easy as sitting in a relaxed position, typically sitting and contemplating your breathing and observations, as well as awareness of your surroundings, appreciation, and listening. This last point is appreciation. It is a term that can be used to describe various ways of gratitude. People may make an appreciation list and then express their gratitude through thought and prayer.

My preferred method of meditation is sitting in a recliner and sipping the cup of coffee in hand while I say a prayer as well as read daily devotional. I’m not yet able to sit with a clear head and fully present to my body. My mind is speeding at 100 mph regardless of how much I attempt to use the brakes to slow down the speed, it is moving up the slope at a breakneck speed. Therefore, I do not fight it. I moved to bottom-up therapy, and also did breathing exercises. My body has to concentrate on breathing and I experience a sense of calm. My wife’s top-down meditation involves meditation on a sacred passage, while her bottom-up practice is a mindful activity like Pilates and yoga.

Who would have thought that a mindfulness practice could ease your back discomfort? Our wife, and also the APTA.