Yoga Practice Predicts Improvements in Day-to-Day Pain in Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer

James W. Carson, Kimberly M. Carson, Maren Olsen, Linda Sanders, Kelly Westbrook, Francis J. Keefe, Laura S. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Context: Women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) experience a significant symptom burden, including cancer pain. Yoga is a mind-body discipline that has shown promise for alleviating cancer pain, but few studies have included patients with metastatic disease or examined the acute effects of yoga practice. Objectives: To determine whether daily pain changed significantly during a randomized controlled trial of the Mindful Yoga program among women with MBC and whether time spent in yoga practice was related to daily pain. Methods: On alternate weeks during the intervention period, we collected daily measures of pain from a subset of 48 women randomized to either yoga (n = 30) or a support group condition (n = 18). We also assessed daily duration of yoga practice among patients randomized to yoga. Results: Pain levels were low for women in both conditions, and no differential treatment effects were found on daily pain. However, among women randomized to yoga, a dose/response relationship was found between yoga practice duration and daily pain. When patients had spent relatively more time practicing yoga across two consecutive days, they were more likely to experience lower pain on the next day. This finding is consistent with an earlier MBC study. Meditation practice showed the strongest association with lower daily pain. Conclusion: Findings suggest that yoga practice (meditation practice in particular) is associated with acute improvements in cancer pain, and that yoga interventions may be more impactful if tested in a sample of patients with advanced cancer in which pain is relatively elevated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1227-1233
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Yoga
  • cancer pain
  • daily diary
  • meditation
  • metastatic breast cancer
  • randomized trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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