Yoga Beneficial For Longstanding Low Back Pain

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Last month Groessl et al., from the San Diego School of Medicine, published the results of their study examining the benefits of yoga on military veterans with chronic low back pain. Of the 150 participants in the study, 35% were unemployed or disabled and the mean back pain duration was 15 years. The mean age was 53 years. The group was generally thought to have “fewer resources, worse health, and more challenges attending yoga sessions than community samples studied previously”.

Hatha yoga classes, designed specifically for people with low back pain, were held twice a week for 12 weeks. They were led by an experienced certified instructor. Home practice (15-20 mins/day) was encouraged. The classes consisted of yoga postures, movement sequences, breathing exercises and brief meditation.

The veterans that completed the study had less disability and less pain. Although the decreases in pain were small, they happened in spite of reduced opioid use.