By Hugh Finlay
A study has shown that people with chronic lower back pain, reduced their pain, after starting yoga. The lower back also functioned better. In the study 48% of the yoga patients, who received a 12 week course in yoga, reached a significant improvement in the functioning of their lower back. This compares with a 37% improvement in back function, for a group of patients who were in a program of physical therapy. A third group who were following an information program about back problems, reported a 23% improvement in lower back function.
The yoga patients reported using 21% less pain medications. The results were much the same for the physical therapy patients.
Researchers monitored the patients for a year, and found that the improvements in the yoga patients and physical therapy patients, remained during that time. The lead author of the study, Dr Robert Saper, from Boston Medical Center, said "If they remain the same after one year, it's a good bet that their improvement will continue on." He went on to say "Both yoga and physical therapy are excellent non-drug approaches for lower back pain."
10% of people in the US suffer from lower back pain, and they are not satisfied with drug treatments for their condition. The American College of Physicians admitted that people suffering from lower back pain should try non-drug methods, before deciding to take medications for their back. The usual non-drug treatment that doctors prescribe for lower back pain is physical therapy, but that may change, now that this study has come out showing the effectiveness of doing yoga postures.
Yoga has grown in popularity over the years, and International Yoga Day is celebrated around the world, every year on June 21. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was a major force in persuading the United Nations to declare International Yoga Day, which is celebrated in countries as diverse as China, Columbia and Egypt. One Egyptian, Ibrahim Mamoud, described Yoga like this "It is not just for flexibility in your body or your soul, it is healing. It is very important as it keeps you healthy and young and makes you believe in yourself and that everything is possible."