Dance and yoga reduced functional abdominal pain in young girls: A randomized controlled trial

Sofie Högström, Anna Philipson, Lars Ekstav, Mats Eriksson, Ulrika L. Fagerberg, Elin Falk, Margareta Möller, Elin Sandberg, Stefan Särnblad, Anna Duberg

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Background: Functional abdominal pain disorders (FAPDs) affect children, especially girls, all over the world. The evidence for existing treatments is mixed, and effective accessible treatments are needed. Dance, a rhythmic cardio-respiratory activity, combined with yoga, which enhances relaxation and focus, may provide physiological and psychological benefits that could help to ease pain. Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a dance and yoga intervention on maximum abdominal pain in 9- to 13-year- old girls with FAPDs. Methods: This study was a prospective randomized controlled trial with 121 participants recruited from outpatient clinics as well as the general public. The intervention group participated in dance and yoga twice weekly for 8 months; controls received standard care. Abdominal pain, as scored on the Faces Pain Scale–Revised, was recorded in a pain diary. A linear mixed model was used to estimate the outcomes and effect sizes. Results: Dance and yoga were superior to standard health care alone, with a medium to high between-group effect size and significantly greater pain reduction (b = −1.29, p = 0.002) at the end of the intervention. Conclusions: An intervention using dance and yoga is likely a feasible and beneficial complementary treatment to standard health care for 9- to 13-year-old girls with FAPDs. Significance: FAPDs affect children, especially girls, all over the world. The negative consequences such as absence from school, high consumption of medical care and depression pose a considerable burden on children and their families and effective treatments are needed. This is the first study examining a combined dance/yoga intervention for young girls with FAPDs and the result showed a reduction of abdominal pain. These findings contribute with new evidence in the field of managing FAPDs in a vulnerable target group.

Sidor (från-till)336-348
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
Tidigt onlinedatum2021
StatusPublished - 2022

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© 2021 The Authors. European Journal of Pain published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Pain Federation - EFIC ®

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