Study: Yoga Provides Relief for Low Back Pain

FEBRUARY 13, 2017

Yoga may provide some relief for patients with low back pain, according to research published in the Cochrane Library by scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM).

“We found that the practice of yoga was linked to pain relief and improvement in function,” the study’s lead author, L. Susan Wieland, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Family & Community Medicine at UM SOM, and Coordinator of the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field at the Center for Integrative Medicine at UM SOM said in a press release about the study. “For some patients suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain, yoga may be worth considering as a form of treatment.”

Dr Wieland and her co-authors reviewed 12 separate studies looking at yoga for low back pain. The trials, which included more than 1,000 participants, compared yoga to a non-exercise intervention, such as educational material given to a patient, or to an exercise intervention such as physical therapy. The researchers found that there was low to moderate certainty evidence that at 3 and 6 months, patients using yoga had small to moderate improvements in back-related function, as well as small improvements in pain.

Yoga performed about the same as non-yoga exercise in terms of improving back function at 3 and 6 months, although the researchers found few studies comparing yoga to other exercise and therefore considered the evidence to be very low certainty.

Most of the trials used Iyengar, Hatha, or Viniyoga forms of the practice. The adverse effects were mostly increases in back pain. Yoga was not associated with serious side effects.

Reference

Wieland LS, Skoetz N, Pilkington K, et al. Yoga treatment for chronic non-specific low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;1:CD010671. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010671.pub2



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