A Brief Mindfulness Intervention for Medically Hospitalized Patients with Acute Pain: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial

Lisa R. Miller-Matero, Henry Ford Health System
Joseph P. Coleman, Henry Ford Health System
Christine E. Smith-Mason, Henry Ford Health System
David A. Moore, Henry Ford Health System
Deanna Marszalek, Henry Ford Health System
Brian Ahmedani, Henry Ford Health System


OBJECTIVE: Mindfulness interventions may be beneficial for patients with chronic pain; however, the effects for acute pain are not understood. The purpose of this study was to pilot test a brief mindfulness intervention for acute pain and stress for patients in an inpatient medical setting.

DESIGN: Pilot randomized clinical trial.

SETTING: An inpatient Acute Care Surgery service at an urban hospital.

SUBJECTS: Sixty patients with acute pain were randomly selected and agreed to participate.

METHODS: Interested patients consented to the study and were randomized to the 10-minute intervention (i.e., mindfulness strategy) or comparison group (i.e., education on the Gate Control Theory of Pain). Participants completed pre- and post-assessment measures on pain severity and stress.

RESULTS: Preliminary results showed that within the intervention and comparison groups, participants experienced decreases in pain from pre- to post-intervention (P = 0.002 and 0.005, respectively). Within the intervention group, there was a significant decrease in stress from pre- to post-intervention (P = 0.001). There were no significant changes for stress within the comparison group (P = 0.32). There were no significant differences between the intervention and comparison groups for pain (P = 0.44) or stress (P = 0.07) at post-intervention, although Cohen's d effect sizes were small to medium for pain and stress, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: A brief mindfulness intervention for medically hospitalized patients with acute pain may decrease pain and stress. Future research should examine this intervention with a fully powered, larger sample to examine efficacy.