Low back pain is a common problem, affecting about four-fifths of us at some point during our lives. Sometimes the pain puts people out of action for weeks. It may also become chronic and difficult to manage. Medications may help acute back pain, but they are not very effective against chronic low back pain. What can you do?
Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain:
A recent review by the Cochrane Collaboration found that yoga might help. The investigators reviewed 12 different studies with more than 1,000 volunteers participating. All these studies compared yoga to physical therapy or to educational sessions to serve as a control. Only one study looked at yoga combined with exercises designed to strengthen back muscles and ease pain. That study did not show clearly that there was an advantage to including yoga along with exercise.
Considered all together, however, the other studies of yoga interventions demonstrated modest or moderate improvement in function as well as reduced back pain after three to six months.
Pick the Instructor Carefully:
We have interviewed a few experts about using yoga to ease various sorts of pain, from shoulder problems to osteoarthritis. You can listen to Show 1065: How Can Yoga Benefit Everyone and Show 1043: How to Strengthen Bones and Fix Your Body with Yoga. The experts agree that therapeutic yoga should be taught by a yoga teacher with training in adapting the exercises so they provide benefit and do not harm the patient.