Yoga and Fibromyalgia

Yoga, with its mind-body connection emphasis, may be helpful for trauma survivors with various emotional and/or physical symptoms. I want to share with you a recent study that investigated the usefulness of yoga for those with fibromyalgia. I have written before about the link between fibromyalgia and trauma.

A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia

Carson, James W.; Carson, Kimberly M.; Jones, Kim D.; Bennett, Robert M.; Wright, Cheryl L. and Mist, Scott D. Pain, Volume 151, Issue 2, November 2010, Pages 530-539. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2010.08.020


A mounting body of literature recommends that treatment for fibromyalgia (FM) encompass medications, exercise and improvement of coping skills. However, there is a significant gap in determining an effective counterpart to pharmacotherapy that incorporates both exercise and coping. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of a comprehensive yoga intervention on FM symptoms and coping. A sample of 53 female FM patients were randomized to the 8-week Yoga of Awareness program (gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga-based coping instructions, group discussions) or to wait-listed standard care. Data were analyzed by intention to treat. At post-treatment, women assigned to the yoga program showed significantly greater improvements on standardized measures of FM symptoms and functioning, including pain, fatigue, and mood, and in pain catastrophizing, acceptance, and other coping strategies. This pilot study provides promising support for the potential benefits of a yoga program for women with FM.

Why do they think yoga helps? “We believe that it probably changes [central nervous system] responses to pain signals,” says Carson, who is planning a larger study on exactly how yoga works.

What do you think? Have you had any experience, positive or negative, with yoga? Does this study make you want to give it a try?

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.



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6 Responses to Yoga and Fibromyalgia

  1. Peggikaye says:

    I do not have Fibro, but I do have lupus. I also have Myasthenia Gravis, which leaves few opportunities for exercise.
    I had been interested in yoga for years, but had always been told it wasn’t a good idea. My therapist suggested it as a way to help make progress in recovery from an eating disorder.

    I got medical clearance based on improvement from treatments ..and I went to my first class in May of this year. I participated and was pleasantly surprised at how much I could do. I worked hard in that first class. I stood up from my first session and had this warm feeling ..and the sudden realization that I was 100% pain free for the first time in 15 years!
    The pain relief lasted for 3 hours. I went back 2 days later and had the same result. 3 hours of total pain relief.
    The more I did, the more the pain was relieved.
    Within 2 months I was completely off my pain medications and off my celebrex (after getting ok from doctor)
    I had to go back on the celebrex for a bone spur in my heel (have had it for years but on celebrex and pain meds, it did not bother me)

    I went from taking 2 to 4 darvocets a day (rx was for 6 times a day, the only time I’d hit that was after a surgery) to taking 2 to 3 a MONTH.

    I now do yoga daily as my morning routine. The pain relief has lessened a bit, so I’m going to go back to a couple of classes to get a refresher on techniques that increase pain relief.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Yoga and Fibromyalgia | Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Chicago --

  3. I’ve been writing a series on yoga and trauma on my site, and would love your imput.

    This is important stuff; glad to see you writing about it.

  4. ardiansyah says:

    for me yoga is good for outside and inside of our body

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