Weekly yoga class yields similar lower back pain relief as two classes

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) have found that a weekly yoga class provided similar lower back pain relief and reduced the need for pain medication as twice weekly classes in lower income minority patients. The results of the study indicate that patients interested in trying yoga for lower back pain could benefit from attending a medically appropriate weekly yoga class.

The study, published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, was led by first author Robert Saper, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine at BUSM and director of integrative medicine at BMC.

While previous studies have shown that yoga can be an effective treatment for chronic , few studies have studied this among specific populations.

"Lower income patients often have worse lower back pain due to limited access to both mainstream health care treatments and complementary treatments such as yoga, massage and acupuncture," said Saper.

In this 12-week randomized trial, 95 predominantly low-income adults suffering from moderate to severe lower back pain were divided into two groups. One group attended once a week and the other attended twice a week, and both groups were encouraged to practice the poses and techniques at home. At the end of the 12 weeks, both groups of participants experienced similar and substantial decreases in their pain level and need for , but there was no additional benefit seen in those attending twice a week. Also, their ability to perform daily functions improved.

"Given the similar improvement seen in once weekly yoga classes, and that once a week is more convenient and less expensive, we recommend patients suffering from lower back pain who want to pursue yoga attend a weekly therapeutic yoga class," said Saper.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Yoga eases back pain in largest US study to date

Oct 24, 2011

Yoga classes were linked to better back-related function and diminished symptoms from chronic low back pain in the largest U.S. randomized controlled trial of yoga to date, published by the Archives of Internal Medicine as an ...

NIH video reveals the science behind yoga

Aug 02, 2012

A video featuring research on how yoga works, the safety of yoga and whether yoga can help treat certain health problems is being released by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments