Yoga Reduces Lower Back Pain
Yoga may be more effective than standard treatment in reducing
chronic low back pain in minority populations, according to a
Individuals from low-income, minority backgrounds with chronic
low back pain (CLBP) may be more affected due to disparities in
access to treatment.
Although many CLBP patients seek relief from complementary therapies
such as yoga, use of these approaches are less common among minorities
and individuals with lower incomes or less education.
For the study, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine
(BUSM) and Boston Medical Center recruited adults with CLBP from
two community health centers that serve racially diverse, low-income
neighbourhoods of Boston.
They were randomly assigned to either a standardized 12-week
series of hatha yoga classes or standard treatment including doctors
visits and medications.
As part of the trial, the researchers asked participants to report
their average pain intensity for the previous week, how their
function is limited due to back pain, and how much pain medication
they are taking.
The yoga group participated in 12 weekly 75-minute classes that
included postures, breathing techniques, and meditation.
Classes were taught by a team of registered yoga teachers and
were limited to eight participants. Home practice for 30 minutes
daily was strongly encouraged. Participants were provided with
an audio CD of the class, a handbook describing and depicting
the exercises, a yoga mat, strap, and block.
Pain scores for the yoga participants decreased by one-third
compared to the control group, which decreased by only 5 percent.
Whereas pain medication use in the control group did not change,
yoga participants use of pain medicines decreased by 80
Improvement in function was also greater for yoga participants
but was not statistically significant. "Few studies of complementary
therapies have targeted minority populations with low back pain,"
said lead author Robert B. Saper, MD, MPH, an assistant professor
of family medicine at BUSM and director of integrative medicine
at Boston Medical Center.
"Our pilot study showed that yoga is well-received in these
communities and may be effective for reducing pain and pain medication
use," he added.
The study appears in the November issue of Alternative Therapies
in Health and Medicine .
Reference Source 202
November 10, 2009