middle age woman doing yoga meditation

Yoga for lower back pain

At some point in your life, you’ve most likely experienced lower back pain. It feels like an ache, soreness or tension and can stay for a long time or go away in a few days with the right amount of management. But, if it lingers on, it can take over your life, making you miserable with pain and an inability to do things freely.

Chronic lower back pain can last for over three months, making you miserable. It can also lead to psychological distress. Besides the use of anti-inflammatory and steroidal drugs which usually have little effect on the pain, exercise therapy is recommended to improve the pain and functionality.

Yoga postures work to improve spinal strength and flexibility proving beneficial in managing and improving back pain. Now, in a new study, researchers have found that yoga plays a key role in reducing chronic lower back pain as well.

The study included 12 trials and 1080 participants with current chronic nonspecific lower back pain, which was defined as pain lasting for more than three months. All studies monitored and measured changes to back-related pain and function

It is estimated that 70–90% of Australians suffer from lower back pain in some form or the other.

The studies from UK, the US and India compared yoga to non-exercise (which included no treatment at all, delayed yoga or education like booklets and lectures) and to back-focused exercises. One study compared yoga to back-focused exercise plus yoga intervention.

The researchers found that, when yoga was compared to no exercises, yoga resulted in small to moderate back-related improvement after three to four months, moderate improvements after six months and some improvement after one year.

There was not much evidence to suggest that yoga was better than non-yoga exercise. One study did, however, report an improvement in back-related function from yoga compared to non-yoga exercise after a week of intensive residential yoga compared to one week of residential exercise. These findings were consistent with previous literature on yoga as a remedy to lower back pain.

Comparing the evidence of yoga versus non-exercise, yoga certainly seems to be beneficial, but the evidence of yoga compared to non-yoga exercise is uncertain.

The researchers claim that this study did not provide enough evidence and further follow-up studies must be conducted to investigate the benefits of yoga for lower back pain.

In any case, the study concluded that yoga does improve lower back pain compared to doing nothing.

By incorporating yoga designed specifically for lower back pain into your routine, you may improve the functioning of your back and decrease associated pain. And that’s certainly better than doing nothing.

Source: Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews

Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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