Heal your lower back pain with yoga

The Star Early Edition - - HEALTH -

YOGA re­lieves lower back pain as ef­fec­tively as phys­io­ther­apy, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished this week.

Pa­tients who went to weekly classes were in less dis­com­fort, could ex­er­cise more and de­pended less on painkillers.

The trial in­volved 320 suf­fer­ers of lower back pain, who were ei­ther as­signed to yoga ses­sions, phys­io­ther­apy or sim­ply given in­for­ma­tion leaflets about their con­di­tion.

The classes stopped af­ter 12 weeks, but the pa­tients were en­cour­aged to carry on with the yoga at home.

Robert Saper, who led the re­search at Boston Med­i­cal Cen­tre in the US, said: “We found that yoga was as ef­fec­tive as phys­i­cal ther­apy for re­duc­ing pain in­ten­sity and im­prov­ing peo­ple’s phys­i­cal func­tion.

“We found that pa­tients do­ing the yoga in the study re­ported that their pain in­ten­sity went down, that they were able to be more phys­i­cally ac­tive. A num­ber of pa­tients were able to re­duce or stop pain med­i­ca­tion.

“Our study shows that when yoga is made avail­able and af­ford­able to a di­verse pop­u­la­tion, peo­ple of both sexes, peo­ple who are dis­abled, peo­ple of dif­fer­ent races and eco­nomic back­grounds, are re­cep­tive to yoga and, more im­por­tantly, can ben­e­fit from it.”

The study, pub­lished in the An­nals of In­ter­nal Medicine, added: “A struc­tured yoga pro­gramme for pa­tients with chronic low back pain may be a rea­son­able al­ter­na­tive to phys­i­cal ther­apy de­pend­ing on pa­tient pref­er­ences, avail­abil­ity, and cost.”

In an ed­i­to­rial, pub­lished in the same jour­nal, Dr Dou­glas Chang at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Diego wrote: “In light of the complex fac­tors af­fect­ing both di­ag­no­sis and out­comes in chronic lower back pain, any sin­gle treat­ment ap­proach is un­likely to prove help­ful to all, or even most, pa­tients.

“Nev­er­the­less, as Dr Saper and col­leagues have shown, yoga of­fers some per­sons tan­gi­ble ben­e­fit with­out much risk.

“In the end, how­ever, it rep­re­sents one tool among many.

“Thought­ful physi­cians will try to de­ter­mine what fits a pa­tient’s anatom­i­cal di­ag­no­sis and psy­choso­cial sit­u­a­tion.”

Most cases of back pain are caused by lift­ing a heavy ob­ject badly, or bend­ing awk­wardly, and in most in­stances will go away within a few weeks. But half of pa­tients see a re­cur­rence of the prob­lem within 12 months – and four in five suf­fer from it at some point in their lives.

The most com­mon treat­ment is painkillers, which are of lim­ited value and can be ad­dic­tive.

Yoga has been prac­tised for more than 5 000 years, hav­ing de­vel­oped in In­dia as a sys­tem of gen­tle ex­er­cise, breath­ing tech­niques and med­i­ta­tion.

It has be­come pop­u­lar as a way to keep fit and re­main calm amid the pres­sures of mod­ern life. – Daily Mail

HEAL­ING: Reg­u­lar yoga can help re­lieve lower back pain as ef­fec­tively as phys­io­ther­apy, a study has found.

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