Study at University of York found that yoga work better for backache than usual treatments

Researchers working in the University of York have claimed that yoga works better to reduce the lower back pain than any other conventional treatment. The study found that patients of
lower back pain, who did yoga showed more improvements in their performance of everyday physical tasks.

According to this new research, yoga treats a patient with lower back pain in a more effective way to become more mobile than the cures general practitioners (GP) are currently offering.

The research claims that the back pain patients, who did weekly yoga sessions, suffered recorded greater improvements in everyday physical tasks such as walking, bending down and getting
dressed. Participants with practised yoga were reported enhanced function compared with those having usual standard care, even nine months after the yoga classes had finished.

Director of the York Trial Unit at the University of York, Prof. David Torgerson, who led this research, said, “In the past when you had back pain, you were told to lie down until it passed.
These days the main advice is to keep your back active.”

He further added, “It seems yoga has more beneficial effects than usual care including other forms of exercise, although we have not carried out a direct comparison. We are still carrying
out the economic analysis but it is likely yoga could reduce the costs of back pain both for patients and for the NHS.”

Some smaller studies which suggested yoga could be beneficial to back pain sufferers had already done previously but those involved just one teacher and have not included long-term follow-up
like this recent detailed study. The research showed that the back pain affects 80% of adults at some point in their lives, and only one in five people visits their GP because of it.

The condition is defined as chronic if it lasts longer than six weeks and it is the second most common cause of long-term disability after arthritis. It costs the National Health Service
(NHS England) around £1bn per year and the annual cost to the economy has been estimated at £20bn.

Existing treatments of the problem include painkillers, spinal manipulation, acupuncture, exercise classes and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Twenty experienced yoga teachers were selected from the British Wheel of Yoga and Iyengar Yoga and were trained to deliver a beginner level course of 12 yoga sessions specially designed
to be safe and beneficial to those with lower back pain.

On the other hand, a group of 156 patients with chronic lower back pain were assigned to have the 75-minute yoga classes in north and west London, Manchester, York and Truro, while a control
group of 157 just saw their GPs.

The participants then filled in a 24-point questionnaire on whether their condition prevented them from doing everyday tasks. The results showed that those patients who did the yoga scored
on average 2.17 points lower than those who did not. Evan after three and nine months later, their scores were still 1.48 and 1.57 points lower respectively. The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


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