Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Chronic Pain in Gulf War Illness

Non-Pharmacologic Treatments for Chronic Pain in Gulf War Illness

A Multi-modal Evaluation of the Comparative Efficacy of Yoga versus a Patient-Centered Support Group for Treating Chronic Pain in Gulf War Illness

Many Veterans from the first Gulf War (1990-1991) have reported negative health consequences including chronic symptoms (fatigue, pain, and cognitive disturbances) commonly referred to as “Gulf War Illness” (GWI). No clear cause or effective treatment has yet been identified; however, Veterans who have participated in the clinical yoga program offered by the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) at VA Palo Alto have reported beneficial effects of simple yoga breathing and postures, without the fatigue that often occurs after other forms of exercise.

Our goal is to compare the efficacy of yoga to treat chronic pain in GWI with a behavioral treatment involving standard pain-reducing exercises. Furthermore, we hope to provide Veterans with life-long skills to help reduce pain and improve their overall health and sense of well-being.

The grant is funded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and was awarded to Peter Bayley, Ph.D.


How can I participate?

Contact the study team at (650) 665-0159.


You are eligible if you:
  • Have chronic pain
  • Are a Veteran of Desert Storm/Desert Shield 

What can I expect? 
  • Participants will be randomly assigned to group sessions of yoga or pain support therapy; both treatment groups will meet for one session per week for 10 weeks.
  • Follow-up interviews will be given at 18, 26, and 34 weeks.
  • The study will be located at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.
  • Compensation for participation is $250 for completing the entire study.