Monday, November 14, 2011

Yoga for Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common conditions to affect humans.  More than 80% of Americans experience low back pain at some time in their lives and "chronic" pain is on the rise as people live longer and get heavier.  Numerous studies have shown that doctors and patients underutilized exercise as a treatment for chronic back and neck pain even though it has been shown to be effective.  A new study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that showed yoga to be an effective treatment for chronic low back pain.

The study authors took two groups of patients and compared yoga to usual care for chronic or recurrent low back pain. All patients received a back pain education booklet, but the study group also received a gradually progressing yoga program delivered by 12 teachers over 3 months.  The teachers were from 2 yoga associations - The British Wheel of Yoga and Iyengar Yoga and the sessions they taught were the same.  They focused on foundational elements of yoga that were adapted for low back pain.  The poses targeted stiff, weak and uneducated areas of the whole body with the intention of improving mobility, strength and posture, while reducing pain.

The yoga group participants continued to have better back function at 3, 6 and 12 months than the patients in the usual care group. The benefits of yoga did diminish after 12 months when only 60% of the participants continued with home yoga.  But 60% is a pretty high rate for continuing a practice!

Despite the fact that the most benefit was observed during the group Yoga and within 3 months afterward, even at 12 months the benefits persisted, especially in those patients who continued the practice.  Yoga was safe and effective for treatment of low back pain.

Here is my favorite low back yoga position:

I recommend a book called Yoga as Medicine by Timothy McCall, MD

34 comments:

Affordable Logo Design said...

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Solitary Diner said...

I've had chronic back pain ever since training for a half marathon years ago, and yoga is the only thing that's ever significantly helped. It's kind of amazing how quickly the pain goes away after just one session of yoga, and it usually stays away for 3-4 days afterwards. I'd have much less pain in my life if only medicine left me with more time for yoga!

Bruce said...

Yoga definitely helped me control my back pain when it started through an athletic injury in 1995. Actually it was a displaced sacro-ilio joint. Through yoga I found pilates and even though I'm a STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor I still do yoga poses to maintain flexibility on my off pilates workout days. The combination of pilates and yoga works for me and I have been pain free for several years now, as long as I do my stretches!

Raymond Bouchayer said...

I wonder if this would help me . Looking at the pictures its looks like I could hurt myself some more ,yoga is a lot of twisting bending lots of exercise that I could not possibly do . I have trouble putting my socks on as it is . But I'll try anything !

Liz said...

might i also suggest gyrotonic or gyronkinesis...big help for my stiff back.

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KN said...

I wonder if yoga would help a recent hip-back injury or if it would hurt, I haven't seen my doctor for yet.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting, timely and helpful post. I have been having a back problem this last month. Sounds like a good book.

convert wmv to mp4 said...
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medical accident said...

The yoga really works very well and it doesn't even have the side effects, thanks for the sharing.

Katie said...

I like your post.Yoga helps increase strength in very specific muscles and muscle groups. Holding positions in yoga is not intended to be uncomfortable.Proper body alignment and good posture, which helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine, is an important part of reducing or avoiding lower back pain.

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Deena Smith said...

Great post! I have suffered with some serious Lumbar Pain for years now and I have recently started attending yoga classes regularly and it really does help alleviate my pain! It's great, I have really been enjoying it! Do you think attending some pilates classes would have the same effect? Thanks again for this great blog!

Clive said...

Hi Tony i also agreed as Yoga is absolutely good for reducing the pain its best for back pain and knee pain treatment.

mackenzie said...

I fell down the steps a few months ago and now I have really bad back pain. My doctor told me to to stretch everyday so I think Im going to try yoga.

DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit said...

Very insightful and informative blog you have here. Thanks for you sharing it to us.

yoga training retreat europe said...

Yoga is a wonderful tool to shape the body, to promote health and relaxation and to help the recovery of many different types of ailments, illnesses and diseases. Yoga aims at restoring the body to its optimum condition, therefore encourages the proper functioning of all body systems. It focuses on the cause of health problems and treats all aspects of the person, including the body, mind and spirit, rather than the symptoms alone.

Anton Houskeeper said...

Back pain can be a real bother. It's hard to find strength to do much exercise when the back is all stiff and hurting. Thankfully, yoga feels more relaxing, and it helps stretch the body out, which can provide some relief, especially if one gets dedicated to the practice.

Back Pain said...

I am Back pain therapist and i am totally agree with you regarding treatment of back pain with yoga but i think that before treating back pain, we should know the causes of back pain and it will definitely help to get rid from lower back pain in a faster way.Nice Post!!!

Mecbrain said...

Anyone of us could experience back pain especially if you are working with a lot of paper works and in front of a computer. I am glad with the information given on yoga for back pain, hopefully that I could start working on it to ease the pain in my back. Please have a guidelines on how are we going to start yoga.

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Back Pain Doctor said...

This is a very helpful information for those who are suffering from back pain.

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leahmu929 said...

yoga is indeed one great exercise. it is not just for the back but for your whole body as well. keep doing it regularly.

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leahmu929 said...

I don't think Yoga is the only reason for relieving back pains


Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

there are other exercise that can help you with this like Taeboo

Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

by the way, eating fruits alone can't contribute in making your bones strong


Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

drink milk everyday. it will help you


Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

I never tried Yoga. it might help I guess if is done the right way


Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

maybe the reason for this Yoga thing is that it helps you become more flexible


Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

at least doing Yoga is affordable compared to seeing a professional or enrolling yourself to a gym


Backpain Professor
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leahmu929 said...

sleep the right way and in the right mattress


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leahmu929 said...

hey there Solitary Diner. Have you tried any other form of exercise aside from Yoga alone?

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Beverly said...

I haven't tried Yoga for my mid-back pain yet. I do know that some basic stretches seem to help (temporarily). Is Yoga more New Age, or has it been proven and been around for a long time?

healthy cities said...

However with children told to sit down and sit still and students hunched over books from such an early age, the development of back issues are inevitable.

nj back pain treatment said...

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darvinfirdous said...

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