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Got Back Pain? Stretch with Yoga for Relief, Study Finds

in Thanks for the tip, YD News, Yoga Therapy

Got back pain? Get yoga. Or at least get to stretching. News this week is that the stretching aspect of yoga is helping folks relieve chronic lower back pain. The study conducted at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle involved 228 adults with persistant back pain, split up into 3 groups: one group had yoga weekly, one had weekly stretching classes, the third, and always the pity group in our opinion, were given books with info on back pain exercises. Nice, a book! All were monitored for 12 weeks.

A questionnaire after the 12-week period yielded some relieving results.

The questionnaire rated daily “disability” level on a scale of zero to 23, with 23 being the most severe. At the 12-week mark, the exercise groups had dropped from an initial average score of 10 in the yoga group or nine in the stretching group to between four and five in both groups. The people who received the book started with an average score of nine and at 12 weeks had dropped to about a seven.

More participants who did either yoga or stretching also said that their back pain had diminished or was gone. Sixty percent of people in the yoga group reported improvements in pain, compared to 46 percent in the stretching classes and just 16 percent of people who only got the books.

So what can we conclude from this? 1. Yoga, stretching and strengthening the lower back will help ease chronic pain. 2. You can give a man a book about fishing, but they have to get off their rumps and give it a try on a regular basis to find relief and/or dinner.

“Here is an option that is something worth trying,” said Karen Sherman who led the study. “There is absolutely no treatment that works for everybody… (but) if they’re willing to practice, they should go ahead and give it a try.”

Practice, practice, practice, yes? Because the results last:

And at both the end of class sessions and three months later, twice as many of the class participants reported cutting back on pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) — about 40 percent versus 20 percent in the book group.

And those are results, dorks.

[Via Reuters]



10 comments… add one
  • This is the duplication of a study published in 2005 in the Annuals of Internal Medicine. Design is the same and I think they wanted to see if they could reproduce the results. Clearly they did! I use the series of poses from the 2005 study in my classes with great results.
    It is so great to see yoga being given the credibility it deserves!

  • I am always recommending yoga stretches to people who complain of back pain. I regularly practice and have noticed that the increased strength in my core has helped my back. I don’t think many people understand the relationship between the core and the back.

  • I used to suffer from bad back pain for many years. I started yoga a year ago and now I am pain free. It does work.


  • That\’s a sharp way of tihkning about it.

  • VbMWgV byjwybfwdidv

  • and again I say “Amen!” 😉

  • Sam

    Yes! I started practicing yoga more than 3 years ago because I had terrible lower back pain and started finding relief almost immediately. I’ve since noticed it helps me manage pain better and also prevent further pain occurring. I believe in it so much I even trained to become a yoga teacher last year! Once you begin to understand the workings of the body, the benefits of yoga become so obvious – and yet there’s always more to learn 🙂

    Specifically for back pain, I find these poses really useful and try to incorporate them into my every day practice http://www.simplebackpain.com/yoga-for-lower-back-pain.html

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