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Yoga May Become Effective Alternative in Treating Lower Back Pain

Jun 20, 2017 08:26 AM EDT

A new study revealed that yoga can be as effective alternative to physical therapy in people suffering from lower back pain.

The study, published in the Annals Internal Medicine, showed that weekly yoga classes could provide the same level of pain relief as physical therapy. Additionally, the study found that both yoga classes and physical therapy could treat chronic lower back pain using less pain medication.

"Yoga was as effective as physical therapy for reducing pain intensity," said Dr. Robert, director of Integrative Medicine at Boston Medical Center and lead author of the study, in a report from CBS News. "Perhaps most importantly reducing pain medication use."

For the study, the researchers enrolled 320 predominantly low-income, racially diverse adults that were suffering from moderate to severe lower back pain. The participants were divided into three groups and were given different treatment options for their back pain.

The first group was given weekly yoga classes, which starts with relaxation exercise, warm-ups, followed by gentle yoga poses like chair twist and wall dog. The second group was assigned to attend weekly physical therapy sessions, while those in the third group were given educational book or newsletter on how to manage their pain.

 The researchers observed that participants in the yoga and physical therapy group more likely to report improvement on their pain levels, compared to the self-help group. Additionally, participants in who received yoga classes and physical therapy sessions were 21 percent and 22 percent, respectively, less likely to use pain medications than those who received educational book or newsletters.

Despite the positive results, the researchers noted that the participants know which treatment they received. Additionally, the data used by the researchers to draw their conclusion came from the participants' responses to the questionnaires.

Nevertheless, the researchers are confident that their research could pave way to possible use of yoga in pain management, which could potentially cut down the use of opioids and other drugs in patients suffering from chronic pain.

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