Recently published findings from a randomised controlled trial, led by Michelle Dowsey, suggest that offering mindfulness training to certain patients before their joint replacement can improve their pain and function after surgery.
Pre-surgery psychological distress can lead to poorer outcomes following total joint replacement (TJR) surgery. Depression, anxiety, neuroticism, catastrophizing, poor self-esteem, and low self-efficacy, are all consistently linked to worse symptom improvement following TJR, both in the short and longer term. In an attempt to address these worrying risk factors, a team of researchers — including OPUS’s own A/Prof Michelle Dowsey and Prof. Peter Choong — sought to test whether offering mindfulness training to distressed patients before TJR surgery could improve pain and function outcomes. The results of their randomised controlled trial, which were recently published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, are promising.
Those patients who participated in the 8-week long Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme prior to surgery showed significant improvements in both pain and function up to a year after surgery, when compared those who went down the standard treatment pathway. Somewhat unexpectedly, a higher proportion of those who participated in the mindfulness training elected to not have the TJR surgery. Many of these participants cited the fact that their symptoms had improved as the reason for withdrawing from surgery.
To find out more, you can access the full article for free until October 18th here.