Yoga may be the best prescription for lower back pain. Researchers at West Virginia University assigned 90 people with chronic lower back pain to one of two groups. Half the people took six months Iyengar yoga classes while the half received conventional care. After six months the yoga students had less pain and disability. The benefits lasted at least six months beyond the classes.
An added bonus was the improved mood that accompanied the yoga. Scores on a depression scale were better than those in the standard care group. This form of yoga emphasizes body alignment and support in the proper postures. People with back pain should make sure that their yoga instructors have experience in therapeutic yoga before enrolling in a class.
[Spine, September 2009]

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  1. Susan M.
    Reply

    Just heard your program this morning with Dr. Fishman. I’m a long time practitioner and Certified Iyengar teacher (and a research psychologist), and it was so great to hear him speak about healing back and shoulder pain combining scientific research and yoga practice. His books are wonderful, and I have worked with many students that have improved and healed with yoga.
    I also want to thank him for emphasizing how important it is to work with a teacher who is well trained and compassionate. People can go to IYNAUS.ORG to find an Iyengar teacher in their area.
    Be well, and thanks for the great work you do on the air!

  2. yoga
    Reply

    Yoga is really good to our health and body. Keep experiencing a life at peace! :)

  3. Yoga For Life
    Reply

    We get many students that come to our Dallas yoga studio desperate for any kind of assistance in finding relief for back, neck, shoulder and/or knee pain. Although we cannot offer any miraculous cures, we do always recommend a practice of some form of ‘gentle yoga’ classes offered at our studio. Needless to say, we have many happy yogis and yoginis!
    Many of the human body’s aches and pains disappear and many imbalances can be self-corrected when yoga is regularly practiced with proper breathing techniques.
    This ancient practice has been around for more than 5000 years and will continue to withstand the test of time!

  4. JAXC
    Reply

    I had a history of chronic back problems including two laminectomies (disc surgery) in 1980 and 1988. Although active throughout the years, after I retired in 2006, I started combining fitness Yoga classes 2-4 times a week in addition to aerobic and weight training. As a result, my back is significantly more stable, I have the ability to do much more without back or sciatic nerve discomfort, and except for one instance during a period of inactivity due to illness, I have not had any reoccurance of back problems.

  5. dwd
    Reply

    Yoga has certainly helped my back. I was fortunate to work for a company that offered free classes. Now that I am retired I have developed my own 20-30 minute set of exercises. If you have never done yoga, I suggest you take some classes to learn how to do it right. Many cities offer them at discounted prices for seniors. even the most expensive run only about $15 per class.
    My rule of Yoga is listen to your body and don’t try every weird pose. Some classes run to 90 minutes which may be too much for beginners so don’t be afraid to sit out some of the exercises until you get in shape. I never do head stands and I also don’t recommend the neck rotation exercise. To stretch you neck always come back to vertical then bend your neck in a different direction. Namaste!

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