Lower Back Pain Helped by Yoga
Lower back pain is estimated to affect 8 in 10 people at some point during their lives. It is one of our society's most common medical problem. Back pain becomes more common with age. Often the first attack happens between 30 to 40 years of age.
Good posture and proper lifting techniques are know to help prevent lower back pain. Once you are afflicted with lower back pain, what do you do for relief?
A study just published in the journal Spine showed that yoga improved the participants function and lessened their pain.
Dr. Kimberly Williams of West Virginia University and colleagues enrolled 90 participants who were either assigned to a group that performed yoga or a control group who did not.
The yoga participant group took part in 90-minute yoga classes twice a week for two months. The classes were led by a certified yoga instructor and two assistants with experience in yoga therapy for people with lower back pain. The participants were given props, a DVD and an instruction manual and asked to practice yoga for 30 minutes on days when they had no formal class.
The control group participants continued self-directed standard medical care, with no instructions to change the treatment previously prescribed by their physician. They were put on a wait list to join yoga classes after the study was completed.
Yoga participant back pain patients had a 29% reduction in functional disability and a 42 percent reduction in pain at 24 weeks. In addition, the yoga participants had a 45.7 percent decrease in symptoms of depression over conventional therapy alone.
Six months after the completion of the study-directed yoga classes, 67.9 percent of the people in the yoga group reported that they were still practicing. The improvement in their outcomes were slightly lower compared to controls than seen at 24 weeks, but this improvement was still statistically significant.
For more information on lower back pain, check out this Handout on Health Back Pain from NIAMS.
Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Efficacy of Iyengar Yoga Therapy on Chronic Low Back Pain; Williams, Kimberly; Abildso, Christiaan; Steinberg, Lois; Doyle, Edward; Epstein, Beverly; Smith, David; Hobbs, Gerry; Gross, Richard; Kelley, George; Cooper, Linda; Spine. 34(19):2066-2076, September 1, 2009.; doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b315cc.
West Virginia University News Release