Group Acupuncture Therapy With Yoga Therapy for Chronic Neck, Low Back, and Osteoarthritis Pain in Safety Net Settings for an Underserved Population: A Feasibility Pilot Study

Raymond Teets, Arya Nielsen, Steffany Moonaz, Belinda J. Anderson, Donna M. Mah, Eve Walter, Mirta Milanes, Hyowoun Jyung, Luz E. Soto Cossio, Paul Meissner, M. Diane McKee, Benjamin Kligler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Acupuncture and yoga have both been shown to be effective in chronic pain. Underrepresented populations have poorer pain outcomes with less access to effective pain care. Objective: To assess the feasibility of bundling group acupuncture with yoga therapy for chronic neck, back or osteoarthritis pain in safety net settings. Methods: This was a feasibility pilot in Bronx and Harlem primary care community health centers. Participants with chronic neck, back or osteoarthritis pain received acupuncture and yoga therapy over a 10-week period. Participants received 10 weekly acupuncture treatments in group setting; with Yoga therapy sessions beginning immediately following the 3rd session. Primary outcome was pain interference and pain intensity on the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI); Outcomes were measured at baseline, 10-week close of intervention, and 24-week follow-up. Results: 93 patients were determined to be eligible and completed the baseline interview. The majority of participants were non-White and Medicaid recipients. 78 (84%) completed the intervention and 10-week survey, and 58 (62%) completed the 24-week post intervention survey. Participants received an average number of 6.5 acupuncture sessions (out of a possible 10), and 4 yoga sessions (out of a possible 8) over the 10-week intervention. Patients showed statistically significant improvements in pain at the close of the intervention and at a somewhat lesser rate, at 24-weeks post intervention. Challenges included telephone outreach and site coordination integrating acupuncture with yoga therapy. The trial also had to be stopped early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: Bundling acupuncture therapy and yoga therapy is feasible for an underrepresented population with chronic pain in urban community health centers with preliminary indications of acceptability and benefit to participants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Advances in Integrative Medicine and Health
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • acupuncture therapy
  • nonpharmacologic pain care
  • underserved setting
  • yoga therapy

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