Yoga Could Ease Nonspecific Low Back Pain

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 24, 2017

Yoga for Low Back Pain

New findings suggest that yoga can improve function and reduce pain in patients suffering from nonspecific low back pain. Researchers stopped short of saying that yoga was more beneficial than other types of exercise for spine pain, but they did note that it was better than no activity. They hope to test yoga against other exercises and activity to see if one provides more back pain relief than the other.

“We think there doesn’t appear to be a difference in terms of back function and pain, but we are not really certain; we need more evidence” said study lead author L. Susan Wieland, assistant professor, Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Yoga For Back Pain

Low back pain is a troubling condition that affects millions of people each year, and it’s not just the physical pain that causes problems. It can affect a person’s work productivity, their quality of life, and it can lead to high medical bills. Since it is such a problematic condition, researchers are always looking for new ways to control and treat the issue. Researchers turned their attention to yoga, as the technique has continued to grow in popularity in recent years.

Researchers looked at 12 different studies from all across the globe on the subject of the benefits of yoga for back pain, and the consensus opinion was that yoga had significant benefits for alleviating pain. Here’s a look at some of the findings:

  • One study found evidence that yoga produced small to moderate improvements in back-related function at 3 to 4 months.
  • Another study found that pain scores improved for yoga participants at 3 to 4 month, 6-month and 12-month intervals.
  • A third study found evidence of mild quality of life improvements in participants who chose yoga over no exercise.
  • Eight studies suggested that there were “no adverse events” associated with partaking in yoga for back pain.
  • Researchers said one type of yoga was not found to be more beneficial than another type, and that there wasn’t a big difference in improvement between individuals who practiced yoga once a week compared to those who did it twice a week.

Breaking Down the Findings

Researchers also specified that the yoga classes were specifically designed for individuals with back pain, so they cautioned against expecting similar results from your average yoga class. Moreover, they couldn’t say which part of the yoga class led to the most pain and function improvement; the breathing, the stretching or the meditation.

“Many people think that yoga could be better than other types of exercise because most yoga practices have this mind component – the breathing and the mental focus – but we don’t have enough evidence to say whether there really is a difference playing out in back function and pain when you compare it to other exercises.”

So if you’re experiencing nonspecific back pain, talk to your doctor about adding yoga to your weekly regimen. It may not be right for you if your pain is the result of a herniated disc or a spinal fracture, so consulting with a doctor to find the right program for you is a good idea.

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