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Studies

Studies have shown that pain killers do little for your lower back pain. And your family doctors have little to offer beside the non-working pills. What do you do?

Yoga may come to your rescue.

A new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in June 2017 found that gentle yoga routines designed specifically for back pain could help ease lower back pain, and that such special gentle Yoga exercises can be as effective as physiotherapy treatments of equal length. The study involved 320 racially diverse, predominantly low-income chronic lower back pain participants from Boston area.

Researchers at Boston University School of Medical developed a gentle yoga protocol with input from yoga teachers, doctors and physical therapists.

Specially trained instructors guide patients through gentle poses, such as cat-cow, triangle pose and child's pose. More difficult poses, such as inversions, are avoided.

"I'm not recommending that people just go to any yoga class," said study author Robert Saper, Director of Integrative Medicine, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine. He pointed out the fact that their research nailed down poses and relaxation techniques that are helpful and safe which may not be the case with other yoga routines.

A guidebook that details the gentle yoga poses and a teacher training manual are made freely available by the center.

 

In its new guidelines for treating back pain, the American College of Physicians recommends that people with back pain should avoid pain medicines if possible, and instead opt for alternatives such as tai chi, yoga and massage.  

 

"Any single treatment approach is unlikely to prove helpful to all or even most patients." However, "Yoga offers some persons tangible benefit without much risk," wrote Stefan Kertesz, Associate Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and his co-author, Douglas Chang, Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery,  University of California, San Diego, in an editorial published alongside of the study.