Dance and yoga can reduce chronic pain

Published 2 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Girls who practiced dance and yoga experienced less pain than the control group.

A study from Lund University suggests that yoga and dance can reduce functional abdominal pain in girls. The research highlights the importance of social interaction and physical activity in chronic pain management.

The study, published in the European Journal of Pain, involved 113 girls aged nine to 13 with functional abdominal pain. Half of the girls practiced yoga and danced together twice a week for eight months, while the control group continued their normal lives.

Functional abdominal pain is stomach pain without an identifiable physical cause that can be detected by medical tests. It is particularly common in children and adolescents.

– Children with functional abdominal pain often stay home from school, don’t hang out with friends or go to activities. This causes great problems in the family and the parents may find it difficult to work, Elin Areskoug Sandberg, researcher at the Center for Primary Care Research at Lund University and Region Skåne, told popular science magazine Vetenskap & Hälsa.

The results showed that the girls who practiced dance and yoga had less stomach pain than those in the control group.

“May enhance physical perception”

The reason for the reduced stomach pain is unclear, but the researchers believe that it could be about a group community, for example, meeting peers with the same problems, but that the pain was not the focus. The instructors were also trained to keep the training light and fun, and to avoid talking about the girls’ abdominal pain. The girls were also given tools to use when the pain came.

– We know that the more parents ask if the child has stomach pain, the more stomach pain the child will experience. It is better to provide a distraction and encourage activity instead, says Sandberg.

Because of the good results, especially in dance, the researchers felt it would be unethical to let the girls stop exercising at the end of the study.

– Dance may enhance physical perception and the ability to feel and live, says Sandberg.

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