A British University study recently reported that Yoga could be more effective than normal healthcare in providing back pain relief for long term sufferers of lower back pain
Yoga can be described as a healing system of theory and practice. It is a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years.
The research, funded by Arthritis Research UK, indicated that yoga could offer a reduction in chronic lower back pain over and above that offered by conventional back pain treatment although definite conclusions could not yet be drawn from the exercise.
In the study, researchers randomly assigned 313 adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain to a yoga program or standard care regime over a 3 month period. Outcome measures included Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDG) scores, pain and general health measurements after three months and again at six and 12-month follow-ups.
The results showed that the yoga group had better back function at 3, 6, and 12 months than the usual care group. The adjusted mean RMDQ score was 2.17 points (95% CI, 1.03 to 3.31 points) lower in the yoga group at 3 months, 1.48 points (CI, 0.33 to 2.62 points) lower at 6 months, and 1.57 points (CI, 0.42 to 2.71 points) lower at 12 months. The yoga and usual care groups had similar back pain and general health scores at 3, 6, and 12 months, and the yoga group had higher pain self-efficacy scores at 3 and 6 months but not at 12 months.
It was noted that two of the 157 usual care participants and 12 of the 156 yoga participants reported adverse events, mostly increased pain. In addition there were missing data for the primary outcome (yoga group 21) and usual care group18) and differential missing data (more in the yoga group) for secondary outcomes.
The conclusion drawn was that offering a 12-week yoga program to adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain led to greater improvements in back function than did conventional healthcare, but that further research was necessary before concrete conclusions could be drawn .