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]