To be mindful of the breath or pain: Comparing two brief preoperative mindfulness techniques for total joint arthroplasty patients

Author: Adam W Hanley1, Jeremy Gililland2, Eric L Garland1
1 Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development (C-MIIND), University of Utah.
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Utah.
Conference/Journal: J Consult Clin Psychol
Date published: 2021 Jun 24
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1037/ccp0000657. , Word Count: 263

Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) often reduces pain and improves function, but it is also a risk factor for the development of chronic pain and postoperative opioid use. To protect against these untoward postsurgical outcomes, TJA patients need better, non-pharmacological pain management strategies. This study compared two, promising, mindfulness-based pain management techniques.

We conducted a single-site, three-arm, parallel-group randomized controlled study conducted at an orthopedic clinic among patients undergoing TJA of the knee or hip. TJA patients (N = 118, M age = 65, female = 73, Caucasian = 110) were randomized to either a preoperative mindfulness of breath (MoB), mindfulness of pain (MoP), or cognitive-behavioral pain psychoeducation (CB) intervention, approximately 3 weeks before surgery. Each intervention was delivered in a single, 20-min session during a 2-hr, preoperative education program. Change in pain intensity was the sole preoperative outcome. The postoperative outcomes, pain intensity, pain interference, and opioid use were assessed on the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th postoperative days.

MoB was found to most effectively decrease preoperative pain scores, F(2, 89) = 5.28, p = .007, while MoP resulted in the least amount of postoperative pain intensity, F(8, 94) = 3.21, p = .003, and interference, F(8, 94) = 2.52, p = .016). Both MoB and MoP decreased postoperative opioid use relative to CB, F(8, 83) = 16.66, p < .001.

A brief preoperative MBI may be able to prevent both postoperative pain and opioid use. Moreover, the MBIs used in this study are highly feasible, capable of being delivered by nearly any healthcare provider, and requiring minimal clinic time given their brevity. As such, embedding MBIs in surgical care pathways has considerable potential. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID: 34165999 DOI: 10.1037/ccp0000657