COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A new study finds that practicing yoga may very well help with both reducing back pain and restoring function.
Published in the journal Cochrane Library, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) and two European universities reviewed 12 studies containing over 1,000 subjects in order to determine the effectiveness of yoga for decreasing low levels of back pain.
Specifically, the practice of yoga was compared to two alternative interventions: non-yoga exercise and informative educational material.
The study’s researchers found some evidence that yoga could alleviate a minor amount of pain, while restoring a minor to moderate amount of function, both after three and six months of practice.
Susan Weiland, the study’s lead author, advised in a release, “For some patients suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain, yoga may be worth considering as a form of treatment.”
Although the available data is limited, it seemed to suggest that yoga was just as effective at improving back function as exercise.
Most of the subjects examined practiced one of three types of yoga for therapy: Hatha, Viniyoga, or Iyengar.
It is important to note that the study’s subjects were aware of the nature of the study while participating, which may have created biased reporting.
Yoga is an ancient practice from India that has just recently become popular in the Western world. Using yoga for back pain was not found to cause any significant side effects.