Yoga for the management of pain and sleep in rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot randomized controlled trial.
Ward L., Stebbings S., Athens J., Cherkin D., David Baxter G.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to determine the feasibility of a relaxation-based yoga intervention for rheumatoid arthritis, designed and reported in accordance with Delphi recommendations for yoga interventions for musculoskeletal conditions. METHODS: Participants were recruited from a hospital database, and randomized to either eight weekly 75-min yoga classes or a usual care control. Feasibility was determined by recruitment rates, retention, protocol adherence, participant satisfaction and adverse events. Secondary physical and psychosocial outcomes were assessed using self-reported questionnaires at baseline (week 0), week 9 (primary time point) and week 12 (follow-up). RESULTS: Over a 3-month period, 26 participants with mild pain, mild to moderate functional disability and moderate disease activity were recruited into the study (25% recruitment rate). Retention rates were 100% for yoga participants and 92% for usual care participants at both weeks 9 and 12. Protocol adherence and participant satisfaction were high. Yoga participants attended a median of seven classes; additionally, seven of the yoga participants (54%) reported continuing yoga at home during the follow-up period. No serious adverse events were related to the study. Secondary outcomes showed no group effects of yoga compared with usual care. CONCLUSIONS: A relaxation-based yoga programme was found to be feasible and safe for participants with rheumatoid arthritis-related pain and functional disability. Adverse events were minor, and not unexpected from an intervention including physical components. This pilot provides a framework for larger intervention studies, and supports further exploration of yoga as a complex intervention to assist with the management of rheumatoid arthritis.