Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 5, 2017
Not too long ago, we published a blog that suggested that yoga may help provide relief for some individuals suffering from nonspecific lower back pain. New research suggests that it may also hold benefits for individuals with back pain that originates in their lower back.
According to the new study, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine just last week, yoga may be just as good for your lower back as targeted treatment options like physical therapy.
Yoga’s Role In Treating Lower Back Pain
Yoga has been touted as an activity that can help alleviate stress and everyday aches and pains, but this is one of the first studies to examine its role in reducing pain in the lumbar region of the spine. For the study, researchers from several different U.S. institutions studied more than 300 racially diverse patients with chronic low back pain. The participants were split into one of three groups:
- A weekly yoga class group
- A weekly physical therapy group
- A control group which was mailed books and newsletters on managing lumbar spine pain.
Study lead author Robert Saper, director of Integrative Medicine at Boston Medical Center, said that individuals in the weekly physical therapy class had the biggest reduction in pain scores, but they were followed very closely by members in the yoga group. The control group experienced the lowest reduction in pain scores, and they also took more pain medications on average than the other two groups.
Dr. Douglas G Chang and Dr. Stefan G. Kertesz, who penned an accompanying editorial on the study, said the findings show correlation and not causation, but they still remain helpful. They conclude that yoga could be added to a treatment routine to help provide the best care for some individuals suffering from lower back pain.
“In light of the complex factors affecting both diagnosis and outcomes in chronic [lower back pain], any single treatment is unlikely to prove helpful to all or even most patients,” wrote Dr. Douglas G. Chang and Dr. Stefan G. Kertesz. “Nevertheless, as Saper and colleagues have shown, yoga offers some persons tangible benefit without much risk.”
So if you are suffering from lower back pain, ask your doctor if yoga is something you could work into your treatment routine. When paired with exercise, diet and other lifestyle modifications, it may help lead to less pain and less reliance on pain medications.