Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

International Yoga Day: Practice regularly and bid farewell to chronic back pain

International Yoga Day: Practice regularly and bid farewell to chronic back pain

Doing yoga can be just as effective as physical therapy for back pain, a study found. One group attended weekly yoga classes for 12 weeks, another group received 15 physical therapy sessions, and the third group was given an educational book and newsletters on managing chronic back pain.

Another key finding: At the end of the three month period, the percentage of patients in both the yoga and physical therapy groups that reportedly took pain medication dropped to 50 percent. That's important, say the researchers, because chronic back pain-which affects about 10% of US adults-has a greater impact on minorities and people of lower socioeconomic status.

If the research indicates yoga may be as effective as PT, Saper says, "maybe yoga should be considered a potential therapy that can be more widely disseminated and covered [by insurance]", NPR reported.

They wrote that 48 per cent of yoga participants and 37 per cent of physical therapy participants reached that goal, compared to 23 per cent of people who were in the education group. Yes, a recent research has found out that certain yoga postures help in relieving back pain if done properly.

Almost half of the yoga participants experienced a "clinically meaningful" improvement in their levels of pain and disability, which means it was enough to make a notable difference in the function of their everyday lives. Every four of five people in the United Kingdom suffer from lower back pain. These classes were specifically designed keeping in mind people who suffered from chronic lower back pain.

At the 12-week point, both the yoga and physical therapy groups were faring better than the education group.

"When you're in severe pain - I'm really not one for medication, it is truly debilitating", said Shapiro. "Perhaps most importantly reducing pain medication use".

"I'm not recommending that people just go to any yoga class", study author Rob Saper told NPR. During the rest of the year, the yoga group was assigned to participate in either studio or at-home yoga classes.

After the first 12 weeks, yoga practitioners were assigned to either keep taking classes or practice at home, with the help of a DVD, manual and yoga props. Participants who received education had an average RMDQ score decline of 2.5. The results were derived from questionnaires that participants had to answer.

"Any single treatment approach is unlikely to prove helpful to all or even most patients", said Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and his co-author, Douglas Chang of University of California, San Diego.

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