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Effects of yoga interventions on pain and pain-associated disability: a meta-analysis

PainSci » bibliography » Büssing et al 2012
updated

One article on PainSci cites Büssing 2012: The Tyranny of Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness

PainSci notes on Büssing 2012:

This paper concludes: “This meta-analysis suggests that yoga is a useful supplementary approach with moderate effect sizes on pain and associated disability.”

A positive result, right? Not so much. This is basically typical science-speak for “we found some scraps of hopelessly inadequate evidence but nowhere near enough for an actually positive conclusion.”

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

We searched databases for controlled clinical studies, and performed a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of yoga interventions on pain and associated disability. Five randomized studies reported single-blinding and had a higher methodological quality; 7 studies were randomized but not blinded and had moderate quality; and 4 nonrandomized studies had low quality. In 6 studies, yoga was used to treat patients with back pain; in 2 studies to treat rheumatoid arthritis; in 2 studies to treat patients with headache/migraine; and 6 studies enrolled individuals for other indications. All studies reported positive effects in favor of the yoga interventions. With respect to pain, a random effect meta-analysis estimated the overall treatment effect at SMD = -.74 (CI: -.97; -.52, P < .0001), and an overall treatment effect at SMD = -.79 (CI: -1.02; -.56, P < .0001) for pain-related disability. Despite some limitations, there is evidence that yoga may be useful for several pain-associated disorders. Moreover, there are hints that even short-term interventions might be effective. Nevertheless, large-scale further studies have to identify which patients may benefit from the respective interventions.

PERSPECTIVE: This meta-analysis suggests that yoga is a useful supplementary approach with moderate effect sizes on pain and associated disability.

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