Back Pain And Yoga

As a mild sufferer of lower back pain over the last few years I’ve been trying to find natural cures for back pain rather than relying on medication. Initially when the pain started it was a case of taking pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen but despite the fact that they worked for a time I found that my body became more resistant and the strength of painkillers that I was taking started to increase.

Over the long-term this is not what I want for my body hence my research and why not share it with the wider  fellow sufferers?
A recent university study has concluded that Yoga could be more effective than the traditional healthcare approach to provide pain relief for long-term lower back pain sufferers. So could this be a possible solution for many of us?

Yoga can be best described as a combination of breathing exercises, physical postures, and meditation and whilst not having roots in traditional medicine it has been practised for more than 5,000 years claiming many beneficial effects.

To be fair, as I read the study it was clear that no firm conclusions could be drawn however it motioned to evidence suggesting that yoga could offer a reduction in chronic lower back pain over and above that offered by conventional back pain treatment.

The main body of the research engaged 313 adults exhibiting symptoms of chronic or recurrent low back pain to either a yoga program or the control standard care regime over a 3 month period. Measurements were then taken a 3, 6 and 12 month time periods and scores assigned using a Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire that generates an “RMDQ score”.
The results showed that the yoga group had better back function at 3, 6, and 12 months than the control group that experienced the traditional approach.
For those of you interested in the statistics they were as follows:-

The adjusted mean RMDQ score was 2.17 points lower in the yoga group at 3 months, 1.48 points lower at 6 months, and 1.57 points lower at 12 months. Both the yoga and control groups had similar 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 although not at 12 months.

There were in a minor number of research participants a negative effect in that two of the 157 control group and 12 of the 156 yoga participants reported adverse events, mostly increased pain.
So what could be concluded specifically? It was reported that a 12-week yoga program provided to adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain led to greater improvements in back function than did more traditional healthcare techniques but that said, there was also a caveat that further research would be required before concrete conclusions could be drawn.

What do I conclude? Well one could argue that the size of the sample was pretty small but I think that there’s sufficient evidence to suggest that Yoga is worth a try. There is a risk that it won’t work for me (or you) and if this is the case then I’ll pull the plug on it.