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Back Pain and Yoga


The aim of this study was to compare the effect of a short-term intensive residential yoga program with physical exercise on pain and spinal flexibility in subjects with chronic low-back pain. Spinal flexibility measures improved significantly in both groups but the yoga group had greater improvement as compared to controls on spinal flexion, spinal extension, right lateral flexion and left lateral flexion. Seven days of a residential intensive yoga-based lifestyle program reduced pain-related disability and improved spinal flexibility in patients with chronic low-back pain better than a physical exercise regimen.
- J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jul;14(6):637-44. Effect of short-term intensive yoga program on pain, functional disability and spinal flexibility in chronic low back pain: a randomized control study.Tekur P, Singphow C, Nagendra HR, Raghuram N.

The purpose of this randomized pilot study was to evaluate a possible design for a 6-week modified hatha yoga protocol to study the effects on participants with chronic low back pain. Potentially important trends in the functional measurement scores showed improved balance and flexibility and decreased disability and depression for the yoga group. A modified yoga-based intervention may benefit individuals with chronic lower back pain, but a larger study is necessary to provide definitive evidence.
- Altern Ther Health Med. 2004 Mar-Apr;10(2):56-9. The impact of modified Hatha yoga on chronic low back pain: a pilot study.Galantino ML, Bzdewka TM, Eissler-Russo JL, Holbrook ML, Mogck EP, Geigle P, Farrar JT.

Low back pain is a significant public health problem and one of the most commonly reported reasons for the use of Complementary Alternative Medicine. A randomized control trial was conducted in subjects with non-specific chronic low back pain comparing Iyengar yoga therapy to an educational control group. Both programs were 16 weeks long. Outcomes revealed significant reductions in pain intensity (64%), functional disability (77%) and pain medication usage (88%) in the yoga group at the post and 3-month follow-up assessments. These preliminary data indicate that the majority of self-referred persons with mild chronic low back pain will comply to and report improvement on medical and functional pain-related outcomes from Iyengar yoga therapy.
- Pain. 2005 May;115(1-2):107-17. Effect of Iyengar yoga therapy for chronic low back pain.Williams KA, Petronis J, Smith D, Goodrich D, Wu J, Ravi N, Doyle EJ Jr, Gregory Juckett R, Munoz Kolar M, Gross R, Steinberg L.

Yoga was more effective than a self-care book for improving function and reducing chronic low back pain, and the benefits persisted for at least several months.
- Ann Intern Med. 2005 Dec 20;143(12):849-56. Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial.Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA.

Visit the back pain section for ways to learn about relieving pain.

Yoga Information



last update: April 2009



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