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Study finds yoga to be effective for healing back pain in adults

Source: Science DailyAnnals of Internal Medicine, December 2005

A milestone study conducted by researchers at Group Health Cooperative's Center for Health Studies found that yoga poses can be effective for healing back pain in adults. The study randomly assigned 101 participants (20-64 years old) to one of three groups: a) 12 weekly, 75-minute yoga classes and yoga practice at home, b) 12 weekly, 75-minute sessions for aerobic, strengthening and stretching exercises, with practice at home, or c) no-classes and an educational component (a self-care book on back pain).

After 12 weeks, participants in the yoga group engaged in daily activities involving the back more easily than participants in the exercise and education groups. After 26 weeks, yoga participants used fewer pain relievers, had better back-related function and felt less pain than other participants. The yoga classes taught participants 17 poses from viniyoga, an easy-to-learn style with easily-adaptable poses.

This study is the largest randomized controlled trial of its kind and demonstrates that yoga can be an effective, healthy alternative for treating chronic back pain rather than pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants.