Yoga, compared to conventional methods, can be a better treatment for chronic lower back pain, a new major study has suggested.
The study, led by the University of York, found that people offered a specially-designed 12-week yoga programme experienced greater improvements in back function and more confidence in performing everyday tasks than those offered conventional forms of GP care.
Although improvements in back function were more pronounced at three months, researchers found there was still an improvement in people’s ability to perform tasks such as walking more quickly, getting dressed without help or standing up for longer periods of time even nine months after the classes had finished.
The trial involved two groups of people who were both receiving GP care for chronic or recurrent back pain.
A 156-strong group were offered group yoga classes specially designed to improve back function, while a second control group of 157 people were offered GP care alone.
The trial showed that there was more reduction in pain in the yoga group than the usual care group, but of marginal statistical significance.
The findings are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine this week.