"the Pain Left, i Was off and Running": A Qualitative Analysis of Group Acupuncture and Yoga Therapy for Chronic Pain in a Low-Income and Ethnically Diverse Population

Hyowoun Jyung, Donna M. Mah, Steffany Moonaz, Manisha Rai, Anup Bhandiwad, Arya Nielsen, Ray Teets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Chronic pain and the current opioid epidemic are pressing public health concerns, especially in low-income and ethnically diverse communities. Nonpharmacologic therapies that are safe, effective, and acceptable for the treatment of chronic pain conditions may provide a solution for addressing this issue. This qualitative analysis explores the experience of study participants who received combined acupuncture and yoga therapy (YT) to treat chronic pain delivered in a primary care setting. Methods: The group acupuncture with yoga therapy for chronic neck, low back, and osteoarthritic pain trial (GAPYOGA) assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of group acupuncture (GA) combined with YT in a low-income, racial, and ethnically diverse population. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with a subset of patients in the trial. Nineteen participants were interviewed for qualitative analysis of their experience. Using the immersion and crystallization method, transcribed interviews were analyzed for themes meaningfully representing participant experience. Results: The combined GA and YT resulted in significant pain relief and transformative healing experiences. Three themes emerged from participant narratives: (1) transformative engagement with self in the healing process through pain relief, psychological well-being, and self-efficacy; (2) therapeutic relationship with acupuncture and yoga providers; and (3) fostering relationships with fellow participants in the group. Discussion: In this study of a low-income and ethnically diverse population, the combination of acupuncture and YT was found to alleviate pain, improve function, promote psychological well-being, and engage participants in self-care practices in a transformative healing process-resulting in physical and psychological benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-338
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • acupuncture therapy
  • chronic pain management
  • qualitative research
  • underserved
  • yoga therapy

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