Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: Evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain
Short Title: Neuroimaging of Pain: Insights into normal and pathological pain mechanisms
Format: Journal Article
Sources ID: 21589
Zotero Collections: Contemplation by Applied Subject, Neuroscience and Contemplation, Science and Contemplation
The cognitive modulation of pain is influenced by a number of factors ranging from attention, beliefs, conditioning, expectations, mood, and the regulation of emotional responses to noxious sensory events. Recently, mindfulness meditation has been found attenuate pain through some of these mechanisms including enhanced cognitive and emotional control, as well as altering the contextual evaluation of sensory events. This review discusses the brain mechanisms involved in mindfulness meditation-related pain relief across different meditative techniques, expertise and training levels, experimental procedures, and neuroimaging methodologies. Converging lines of neuroimaging evidence reveal that mindfulness meditation-related pain relief is associated with unique appraisal cognitive processes depending on expertise level and meditation tradition. Moreover, it is postulated that mindfulness meditation-related pain relief may share a common final pathway with other cognitive techniques in the modulation of pain.