Qigong for Persistent Post-Surgical Pain

 

Qigong Mind-Body Exercise as a Biopsychosocial Therapy for Persistent Post-Surgical Pain in Breast Cancer: A Pilot Study

This is a study in the effectiveness of qigong in cases of post-surgical pain for breast cancer survivors. It was a mixed-methods pilot study. It utilized 21 participants over a 12-week and 6-month period. Effectiveness was measured by validated self-report questionnaires regarding a variety of symptoms: pain severity, fatigue, anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem, pain catastrophizing, and shoulder range of motion. The results were “clinically meaningful” in terms of positive changes in pain, fatigue, pain catastrophizing, anxiety, depression and quality of life. The conclusion was that an applied program of qigong is a “safe and gentle multimodal intervention” that shows promise for breast cancer survivors with persistent post-surgical pain. The results support the value of future research beyond this pilot study. 

Summary written by Charles Garrettson, Ph.D., George Mason University


Abstract

Qigong Mind-Body Exercise as a Biopsychosocial Therapy for Persistent Post-Surgical Pain in Breast Cancer: A Pilot Study.

Integr Cancer Ther. 2020 Jan-Dec;19:1534735419893766. doi: 10.1177/1534735419893766.

 

Osypiuk K, Ligibel J, Giobbie-Hurder A, Vergara-Diaz G,  Bonato P,  Quinn R, Ng W, Wayne PM.

Purpose: To assess the feasibility, safety, and preliminary effectiveness of a 12-week multimodal Qigong Mind-Body Exercise (QMBE) program for breast cancer survivors with persistent post-surgical pain (PPSP). 

Methods: This was a single-arm mixed-methods pilot study. Primary outcome measures were feasibility (recruitment, adherence) and safety. Validated self-report questionnaires were used to evaluate a constellation of interdependent symptoms, including pain, fatigue, mood, exercise, interoceptive awareness, and health-related quality of life at baseline and 12 weeks. A subset of the instruments was administered 6 months post intervention. Shoulder range of motion and grip strength were objectively assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. Qualitative interviews were conducted at baseline and 12 weeks. 

Results: Twenty-one participants were enrolled; 18 and 17 participants, respectively, completed the 12-week and 6-month outcome assessment. No serious adverse events were reported. Statistically significant improvements were observed at 12 weeks in pain severity and interference, fatigue, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, self-esteem, pain catastrophizing, and several subdomains of quality of life, interoceptive awareness, and shoulder range of motion. Changes in pain, fatigue, pain catastrophizing, anxiety, depression, and quality of life were clinically meaningful. Post intervention effects were sustained at 6 months. 

Conclusions: QMBE is a safe and gentle multimodal intervention that shows promise in conferring a broad range of psychosocial and physical benefits for breast cancer survivors with PPSP. Results support the value of future studies evaluating the impact of QMBE on multiple outcomes relevant to breast cancer survivors with PPSP.

KEYWORDS: Qigong; breast cancer; mind-body exercise; persistent post-surgical pain

PMID: 32009481 DOI: 10.1177/1534735419893766

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