Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
Anjanette Sommers, PA-C
Background: Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic disease characterized by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and compromises in cognition. One of the biggest challenges surrounding fibromyalgia is proper diagnosis, as there is no current diagnostic test established. Most practitioners utilize examining tender points and other subjective self-assessments to aid in the assessment of the condition. Current therapies include both medication and non-pharmacologic such as chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, aerobic exercise, and yoga. Yoga is an ancient Indian practice incorporating physical poses, deep breathing, self-awareness, and meditation. Yoga is an effective therapy modality for managing chronic illnesses including low back pain and arthritis. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, several studies considered yoga as a therapy for symptom management. Can yoga be an effective therapy for symptom reduction in patients with chronic fibromyalgia?
Methods: An exhaustive search of available medical literature using MEDLINE- Ovid, Web of Science and CINAHL was performed using the following key terms: “fibromyalgia” and “yoga”. These were screened for eligibility criteria. The resulting studies were then appraised and assessed for quality with GRADE.
Results: Three studies were included in this systematic review, meeting inclusion and exclusion criteria. One randomized control trial looked at 53 patients with chronic fibromyalgia and showed a significant improvement in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Revised (FIQR) total score and in the strength assessment favoring the yoga intervention. Two pre-/post-therapy studies showed significant improvements in fibromyalgia symptoms, though assessed using different modalities including the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and the McGill Pain Questionnaire short-form 2.
Conclusion: Yoga has been shown to be an effective treatment modality in decreasing pain symptoms in patients with chronic fibromyalgia. Current research not only showed improvements in pain, but also in fibromyalgia-associated symptoms including mental clarity, anxiety, fatigue, and positive thinking. Further research will develop an objective way to measure symptoms and by doing this will decrease the risk for bias and validate the current treatment. Larger clinical trials and a longer follow-up will also be beneficial in confirming the current research.
Keywords: Fibromyalgia, yoga
Johnson, Rachel K., "Yoga as an Effective Therapy to Reduce Symptoms in Patients with Fibromyalgia" (2016). School of Physician Assistant Studies. 558.