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Meditation Eases Breast Biopsy Anxiety And Pain

Guided meditation can help women undergoing breast biopsies experience less anxiety and pain. In addition, researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute report that providing meditation can improve the effectiveness of the biopsy procedure, which can be compromised if women move during the procedure. The researchers enrolled 121 women scheduled for a stereotactic and ultrasound guided (needle) breast biopsy and randomly assigned them to a recorded meditation, music or the usual care with a technologist offering support. The meditation, described as a guided “loving/kindness” script, focused on building positive emotions and releasing negative ones. Patients assigned to listen to music could choose from several types available. Before and after the biopsy the women completed questionnaires measuring their nervousness and anxiety and ranking their pain on a scale of zero (low) to 10 (high). “Both meditation and music reduced patient anxiety and fatigue," said study leader Mary Scott Soo, M.D. in a press release accompanying publication of the study. However, the women in the meditation group reported significantly less pain than those in the music group.


Can You Dance Away Pain?

If arthritis is cramping your style, dancing might help you feel better. A new study from St. Louis University found that a group of seniors was able to walk faster and reported less pain after completing several months of dance therapy. The 34 participants in the small study were mostly women whose average age was 80. They all reported pain or stiffness in their knees and hips that was primarily due to osteoarthritis. The researchers divided the participants into two groups. The 19 volunteers in one group danced for 45 minutes once or twice a week; the other 15 volunteers did not receive dance therapy but participated in other, similar physical activities. After the 12-week study ended, the participants who performed the dance therapy were able to walk faster. There was enough of a change, in fact, to enable them to cross a street quickly and get to the bathroom faster than they might have before the dance therapy. Another bonus: those who had dance therapy were able to reduce the prescriptions they were taking by 39 percent, while those who didn’t dance actually increased their medication use by 21 percent.

Jean Krampe et al, “Does dance-based therapy increase gait speed in older adults with chronic lower extremity pain: A feasibility study.” Geriatric Nursing, 2014; DOI:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2014.03.008

What’s Your Typical Reaction to Unexpected Pain? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed swearing after experiencing pain: Can Swearing Lessen Pain? Check out the article and let us know your typical reaction when you experience pain.