Tailored Yoga Intervention for Postlumbar Spine Surgical Pain Management: A Feasibility Study

Neena K. Sharma, Haiyin Li, Kosaku Aoyagi, Shannon Ritchey, Elisa Mohr, Douglas C. Burton, Paul M. Arnold, Yvonne Colgrove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Severe pain, anxiety, and high opioid use are common following lumbar spine surgery (LSS). Yoga helps to reduce pain and anxiety, but it has not been considered for postsurgical care. The authors developed and tested the feasibility of a tailored yoga program designed for individuals undergoing LSS and explored clinical feasibility of yoga intervention on measures of pain, function, psychological status, and opioid use. Methods: Individuals scheduled for LSS were randomized into yoga versus control groups presurgery. Participants in the yoga group received tailored yoga sessions plus usual care, whereas participants in the control group received usual care only during the hospital stay post-LSS. In-person daily yoga sessions were individually presented and performed in the participant's hospital room. Feasibility was assessed by recruitment and retention rates, rate of yoga session completion, tolerance to yoga intervention, and ability to carry out planned assessment. Exploratory clinical outcomes included pain, psychological measures, Timed-Up-and-Go test, gait distance, and opioid use, during the hospital stay post-LSS. Results: Forty-one participants were enrolled, of which 30 completed. There were no dropouts. Planned assessments were completed within 45 min, suggesting no excessive burden on participants. Baseline variables were similar across both groups. The majority of participants participated in yoga intervention on the day of surgery or one day after surgery with acceptance rate of 100%. Participants showed good tolerance to yoga intervention on 0-4 tolerance scale and by their reports of exploratory clinical outcomes. Conclusion: This study indicates feasibility for a modified yoga program for postoperative care following LSS due to participant tolerance and retention. The results provide preliminary framework for future confirmatory studies that can assess the potential benefits of yoga in reducing pain, catastrophizing behavior, and opioid use and improving function. A modified yoga program focusing on diaphragmatic breathing, relaxation, and core isometric contraction exercises can be an important adjunct intervention for patients undergoing LSS. CTR Number: This trial was registered in UMIN CTR (https://rctportal.niph.go.jp/en/) with registration number: UMIN000032595.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • backpain
  • depression
  • gait
  • integrative medicine
  • stress
  • yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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