(PRWEB UK) 28 April 2014 -- Meditation and counselling may be as effective as drugs or anti-inflammatories in easing the painful symptoms of arthritis, according to new research by University of Manchester and Arthritis Research UK.
Researchers measured the brain waves of patients with and without osteoarthritic pain, after being given short but painful laser pulses to the skin. They found that while anticipating the painful pulse, a brain area called the insula cortex increased its activity – and this predicted the extent and intensity of the patients’ own chronic pain.
Experts believe that by focusing on cognitive behavior, therapies and counselling methods they may be able to influence the brain to prevent the pain, which could actually be better for some patients rather than using expensive or potentially damaging drugs. The findings were published in the European Journal of Neuroscience. http://dexpr.es/1hKgXYg
Professor Anthony Jones, from the University of Manchester’s Human Pain Group based at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, said that despite previous claims, the sole reason for a sufferer to experience such pain is because of joint destruction; the extent of pain is actually often poorly related to the amount of damage and can spread to nearby regions of the body where there is no evidence of arthritic disease.
"What we need to do now is try to focus more on influencing the brain to prevent the pain,” said Professor Jones.
“There are a range of cognitive behaviour therapies and counselling methods which would be more effective than dosing patients with pain killers. One therapy is based on Buddhist practice. It increases the focus of the mind on the present through meditation techniques,” he added.
One in every five adults suffers from arthritis, with around 10 million people in the UK alone. Omar El-Gohary, Superintendent Pharmacist at ChemistDirect said: “Arthritis is a disease causing inflammation and painful stiffness in the joints. The way it is usually treated at the moment is with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and pain killers.”
El-Gohary also said physiotherapy may help ease the symptoms of arthritis and a balanced and healthy diet can also help ease the pain.
Samantha Smith, Chemist Direct, +44 1215414952 Ext: 205, [email protected]