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Behav Med. 2017 Apr-Jun;43(2):108-119. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2015.1107525. Epub 2015 Dec 11.

A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for HIV-Associated Chronic Pain.

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a Department of Neurology , Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


Treatment guidelines for chronic pain recommend nonpharmacologic modalities as part of a comprehensive management plan. Chronic pain is common among people living with HIV/AIDS, but there is little data to guide the choice of nonpharmacologic therapies in this complex population. We performed a mixed-methods feasibility study of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) versus health education control with 32 inner city, HIV-infected participants. Outcome measures included: the Brief Pain Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale, HIV Symptoms Index, autonomic function testing, and audiotaped focus groups. Post-intervention, participants reported modest improvements in pain measures and perceived stress, but no effect of group assignment was observed. At 3-month follow-up, 79% of MBSR participants were still practicing, and pain intensity was improved, whereas in the control group pain intensity had worsened. Qualitative analysis revealed a strong sense of community in both groups, but only MBSR was perceived as useful for relaxation and pain relief.


HIV; Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR); chronic pain; mixed methods

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