If you have low back pain, yoga might help!

Recent research about the health benefits of yoga might encourage you to add it to your daily routine, especially if you have chronic low back pain. Yoga has long been used as a staple of natural health and wellness, and is now recognized for other potential health benefits. It has been proven that yoga has the potential to help manage depression and anxiety in adults as well as children. In fact, in addition to improving flexibility, balance and muscle tone with isolation movements, yoga can also improve calmness and relaxation, boosting self-esteem and body awareness.

Back pain (specifically chronic low back pain) is the most common pain problem in the United States. If you are one of the millions who experience this, using yoga as a supplement to other wellness strategies is now being supported by research. A recent study showed that practicing yoga was just as effective as physical therapy for those who had chronic back pain. Physical therapy is considered one of the frontline treatment strategies for patients with low back pain, but for some, it might not be as effective at relieving pain as yoga. In this study, yoga proved to a safe, nonpharmacological, cost-effective standard of care and can be used in supplementation with physical therapy for maximum benefit.

How do you know if yoga could help with your back pain?

  • Before starting yoga, physical therapy or any other activity for back pain, get evaluated by a health care professional. Know your diagnosis and the problem before trying to treat it
  • Listen to your body and defer to your own judgement about what you can and cannot do
  • Whether it is a yoga class or at-home program, start slow and be consistent. Yoga involves stretching and balance, it takes practice

Using a multimodal strategy for pain management and wellness is best achieved through a healthy lifestyle. Start by knowing your problem, learn about different ways to treat and management the pain, and then choose the best option for you. Yoga can benefit the mind, body and soul, alleviating physical pain while encouraging meditation and relaxation. Try adding it to your exercise routine and enjoy the benefits! Namaste!


Disclaimer:  Articles are based on real cases seen at Scottsdale Sports Medicine. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Please consult your medical professional for individualized healthcare.

Adam P. Goode, Remy R. Coeytaux, Jennifer McDuffie, Wei Duan-Porter, Poonam Sharma, Hillary Mennella, Avishek Nagi, John W. Williams Jr., An evidence map of yoga for low back pain, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 25, April 2016, Pages 170-177, ISSN 0965-2299, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229916300255

Pauline Anderson. (2016). Yoga as Good as Physical Therapy for Back Pain. American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM) 2016 Annual Meeting. Medscape. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/869487