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Medicines 2017, 4(3), 64;

Literature Review of Research on Chronic Pain and Yoga in Military Populations

RTI International, 3040 East Cornwallis Drive, Durham, NC 27709, USA
Program on Integrative Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, CB #7200, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Barnwell College, P. O. box 124, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
Womack Army Medical Center, 2817 Reilly Road, Fort Bragg, NC 28310, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Romy Lauche and Holger Cramer
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Yoga for Chronic Pain)
Full-Text   |   PDF [250 KB, uploaded 13 September 2017]


Background: Although yoga is increasingly being provided to active duty soldiers and veterans, studies with military populations are limited and effects on chronic pain are largely unknown. We reviewed the existing body of literature and provide recommendations for future research. Methods: We conducted a literature review of electronic databases (PubMed, PsychINFO, Web of Science, Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Conference Proceedings Citation Index—Science, and Conference Proceedings Citation Index—Social Science & Humanities). The studies were reviewed for characteristics such as mean age of participants, sample size, yoga type, and study design. Only peer-reviewed studies were included in the review. Results: The search yielded only six studies that examined pain as an outcome of yoga for military populations. With one exception, studies were with veteran populations. Only one study was conducted with Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans. One study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Four of the five studies remaining used pre/post design, while the last study used a post-only design. Conclusions: Studies on the use of yoga to treat chronic pain in military populations are in their infancy. Methodological weaknesses include small sample sizes, a lack of studies with key groups (active duty, OEF/IEF veterans), and use of single group uncontrolled designs (pre/post; post only) for all but one study. Future research is needed to address these methodological limitations and build on this small body of literature. View Full-Text
Keywords: chronic pain; military; yoga chronic pain; military; yoga
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Miller, S.; Gaylord, S.; Buben, A.; Brintz, C.; Rae Olmsted, K.; Asefnia, N.; Bartoszek, M. Literature Review of Research on Chronic Pain and Yoga in Military Populations. Medicines 2017, 4, 64.

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