Yoga may be about as good as physiotherapy for treating lower back pain, according to a new study published in a major medical journal. The results of the long-term study, which involved a large and racially diverse group of participants, come as welcome scientific support for using yoga as a therapy for back pain. Whilst yoga is popular within the medical community, so far evidence for its therapeutic success is sparse.
The study was led by Robert Saper, director of Integrative Medicine at Boston Medical Center and saw a team of researchers from various U.S. institutions study over 300 racially diverse, low-income patients with chronic back pain. Patients were split into three groups: one sent to weekly yoga classes, another to weekly physiotherapy sessions, and the third control group were given information on managing pain.
The results? The weekly yoga classes helped pain management almost as much as physiotherapy, and more than education. Both yoga and physiotherapy recipients used less pain medication than the control group. The study was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, and an accompanying editorial commented on yoga’s healing potential, saying “as Saper and colleagues have shown, yoga offers some persons tangible benefits without much risk.”
Read the full story at CNBC.