Mindfulness Program Curbs Distress in Rheumatic Disease

Better than individual practice for reducing pain, fatigue in rheumatoid joint disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- In adults with inflammatory rheumatic joint diseases, a mindfulness-based group intervention reduces psychological distress, pain, and fatigue as compared to individual use of home exercises, according to research published online Dec. 20 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Heidi A. Zangi, Ph.D., of the Diakonhjemmet Hospital in Oslo, Norway, and colleagues analyzed primary and secondary outcomes from 73 adults diagnosed with inflammatory rheumatic joint disease (mean age, 53.9 years) who either underwent a 10-session mindfulness-based group intervention with a booster session after six months (the Vitality Training Programme [VTP]), or performed home-based mindfulness exercises from a CD on a voluntary basis.

According to the researchers, 68 of the 73 randomized patients completed post-treatment questionnaires, and 67 patients completed questionnaires at 12 months. Compared to home-based exercises, the VTP group had significantly better post-treatment outcomes, maintained at 12 months, in psychological distress, self-efficacy pain and symptoms, emotional processing, fatigue, self-care ability, and overall well-being. Group differences in emotional expression, pain, and disease activity were not significant.

"The VTP improved most primary and secondary outcomes compared with individual use of CD exercises. Improvements were maintained at 12 months, suggesting that the VTP is a beneficial complement to existing treatments for patients with inflammatory rheumatic joint diseases," the authors write.

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