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4 min read

Yoga May Be Just The Solution For Your Back Problems

Yoga May Be Just The Solution For Your Back Problems

It is estimated that around 80% of adults can expect to experience chronic back pain at some point in their life. For those who struggle to bend or roll out of bed, the problem seems incurable in spite of all the exercise ideas and medications available. This is the reason why it’s referred to as chronic back pain as it never seems to go away.

The majority of those suffering from back pain have an unknown cause and this makes it difficult to treat. In such a case, these people result to use of strong pain medications. The good news is that there may be a way out of that back pain through yoga. This is according to a study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a spiritual and physical practice that has been in existence for over 2,000 years. In the last decade, yoga has become popular in the U.S. and the surrounding countries. Yoga involves a combination of controlled breathing, physical movements, and meditation or relaxation.


About the Study

Researchers at the Boston Medical Center enlisted the help of physical therapists, doctors, and Yoga instructors who developed a yoga course based on simple relaxation techniques which were tailored to lower back pain. The goal was to determine if yoga could be as effective as physical therapy in dealing with lower back pain.

The researchers then gathered over 300 low income adults from diverse racial backgrounds, all of whom suffered from chronic lower back pain. The average age was 45, and almost 70% took pain killers for their back pain.

The participants were then divided into 3 groups, where one received education on back pain for 3 months, the other went into physical therapy for 3 months, and the last group went into yoga class for 3 months. At the conclusion of the three months, those who were in the yoga class continued with their sessions either in class or at home, while those in physical therapy did the same. During this period, effects of pain medication were closely monitored.


The Findings of the Study

Scientists assessed changes in function and pain using a 23 point questionnaire,

The researchers discovered that yoga was good for the participants back pain as was physical therapy. The study also showed that the physical therapy and yoga groups showed the same level of improvement in activity and pain limitation over time. This improvement in both groups was also reexamined at the one year mark and the results were similar.

Another finding is that at the start of the study, almost 70% of participants were taking pain medication. This number decreased to around 50% after three months for those in physical therapy and yoga groups. The group that participated in education saw no reduction in the use of pain medication.

According to Dr. Saper, one of the authors of the study, Yoga was equally effective as physical therapy when it came to reducing back pain intensity. Most importantly, it reduced the use of pain medication. The researcher went on to add that yoga works by strengthening the lower back and core muscles while helping with the relaxation of both mind and body.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that yoga may be a sensible alternative to physical therapy, depending on patient preference, costs, and availability. Saper further went on to add that if yoga was made available to people of different races, ability, socio-economic background, and gender, more people would benefit from this therapy.

Yoga has been shown in previous studies to increase compassion, keep patients out of hospital and relieve depression. Dr. Saper hopes that with the publishing of this study, more physicians will recommend yoga to treat back pain.

Although yoga could be helpful in relieving back pain, it is essential to note that the researchers involved in the study had to monitor the movements made. It is, therefore, important to seek medical advice before taking up a yoga class as treatment for your chronic back pain. Once you’re cleared by your doctor, you can then find an experienced instructor working with low back pain to help you achieve the desired results.

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