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Yoga may alleviate fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia or FM is a chronically painful condition affecting 11-15 million people, mostly women, in the US. The annual cost of care for these long suffering people is about $20 billion and drugs only 30% effective in reducing symptoms and 20% effective in improving function. Standard care usually calls for prescriptions, exercise and psychological coping skills. However, a new study published in PAIN, reveals that a program called “Yoga of Awareness” gave patients greater relief from their condition than standard care alone.

“Although yoga has been practiced for millennia, only recently have researchers begun to demonstrate yoga’s effects on persons suffering from persistent pain,” said lead investigator James W. Carson, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University. “The Yoga of Awareness program stands in contrast to previous multimodal interventions with FM patients in that if integrates a wide spectrum of yoga-based techniques - postures, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, application of yogic principles to optimal coping and group discussions… the findings of this pilot study provide promising preliminary support for the beneficial effects of yoga in patients with FM.”

Yoga of Awareness is an innovative yoga program and was tweaked for the pain program. The routine addressed pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, an emotional distress specifically experienced by those with FM. Following treatment, women who participated in the study showed significantly greater improvements on the standardized measures of symptoms and functioning.

“In addition, the results suggested the yoga intervention led to a beneficial shift in how patients cope with pain, including greater use of adaptive pain coping strategies (ie problem solving, positive reappraisal, use of religion, activity engagement despite pain, acceptance, relaxation) and less use of maladaptive strategies (ie catastrophizing, self-isolation, disengagement, confrontation).” Dr. Carson hopes to bring the pilot program to yoga teachers interested in starting groups for this community of individuals who suffer from chronic pain.

Source: Elsevier, Medical News Today


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