Study shows yoga relieves lower back pain
YOGA relieves lower back pain as effectively as physiotherapy, a new study has revealed.
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 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 low 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.”
Yoga has been practised for more than 5 000 years, having developed in India as a system of exercise, breathing and meditation. It has become popular as a way to keep fit and remain calm amid the pressures of modern life. – Daily Mail