Mindfulness for adolescent chronic pain: a pilot feasibility study
Objective: Chronic pain is common in paediatric populations and many patients do not respond to the currently available evidence-based treatments. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have a growing evidence-base in adults, but evidence is limited in youth with chronic pain.
Methods: We conducted an open-label pilot study to test the feasibility of an 8-week MBI for this population.
Results: Seven adolescents (age range 14–17; median age 15; six female) completed the intervention. There were no dropouts. Median class attendance was seven of eight total sessions (SD = 0.76). Only one (14.3%) participant reported not finding it useful; five (71.4%) reported that they would recommend it to a friend; and the remaining two (28.6%) reported “maybe”. There was no worsening of internalizing symptoms. Secondary outcomes included significant reduction of pain intensity, which was maintained at three-month follow-up. Somatic symptoms and functional disability were both non-significantly lower immediately following the intervention; but were significantly improved at three-month follow-up.
Conclusion: An eight-week group MBI is a feasible intervention for adolescents with chronic pain, and warrants further investigation as a potential alternative to cognitive behavioural therapy in this population.