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Yoga Therapy for Chronic Lower Back Pain


Recently, in Bio-Medicine my colleagues and I had to create an evidence-based pamphlet for medical professionals explaining some of the benefits of yoga therapy for a particular musculoskeletal condition.

For this pamphlet I chose chronic lower back pain (CLBP).

As a yoga teacher, this is probably the number one musculoskeletal imbalance that I hear about on a frequent basis.

That being said, I thought I would offer you some of the potential benefits of yoga therapy for CLBP according to two medical studies.

First, it is important to understand what kinds of practices are utilized in

a yoga therapy setting:

1. Yoga Philosophy

2. Mindful Breathing

3. Meditation

4. Physical Postures

5. Cultivation of Concentration

6. Body Awareness

Using a combination of the practices listed above, research studies suggest that the benefits of yoga for individuals with CLBP include:

-Reduction in pain intensity {1}

-Improvement in lower back and hamstring flexibility {1}

-Reduced anxiety and depression {1}

-Improvements in sleep, confidence in oneself, and a sense of well-being {1}

-Increased spinal mobility in all directions, forward bending, backward bending, and side bending {2}

-Improved overall physical ability {2}

This sounds awesome, right?

Absolutely!

However, there is one bit of caution that I want to explain to you to be completely transparent about scientific research.

Notice in the statement above that I said, "Research studies suggest..." I used this specific wording because scientific researchers are very conservative in how they convey their research findings. In the two studies listed in the reference section, the benefits listed above were a result of the yoga practices offered within the context of the studies, this does not mean that it is 100% applicable to every person and every practice. That being said, this is not to lessen the results of the studies by any means, I'm simply pointing to the fact that a tenet of yoga therapy is that each individual is unique so there are a number of other factors that come into play from person-to-person.

Nevertheless, research studies across the board are pointing to the fact that yoga benefits all levels of our being, physically, mentally, energetically, and spiritually.

Now that's exciting!

References:

  1. Tekur, P., R. Nagarathna, S. Chametcha, Alex Hankey, and H.R. Nagendra. "A Comprehensive Yoga Programs Improves Pain, Anxiety and Depression in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients More than Exercise: An RCT." Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2012): 107-18. Elsevier Ltd. Web. 3 June 2015.

  2. Tekur, P., Chametcha Singphow, Hongasandra Ramarao Nagendra, and Nagarathna Raghuram. "Effect of Short-Term Intensive Yoga Program on Pain, Functional Disability, and Spinal Flexibility in Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Control Study." The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 14.6 (2008): 637-44. EBSCO Host. Web. 3 June 2015.


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