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Archive for the ‘Yoga Science Back Pain’ Category

Comparing once- versus twice-weekly yoga classes for chronic low back pain in predominantly low income minorities: a randomized dosing trial

Research paper by Robert B. Saper, Ama R. Boah, Julia Keosaian, Christian Cerrada, Janice Weinberg, Karen J. Sherman. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Published June 26, 2013. Accessed February 20, 2015. doi: 10.1155/2013/658030


In this 12-week, randomized, parallel-group, dosing trial of 95 adults with nonspecified chronic low-back pain (LBP), researchers concluded that once-weekly and twice-weekly Hatha yoga classes were equally effective in reducing pain and improving back-related function. This study was conducted using mostly non-white participants with low incomes, the investigators explained, because previous studies of yoga for LBP typically included white subjects with high incomes.

Study participants were randomized into either the once-weekly or twice-weekly yoga intervention group. Except for the addition of the second weekly class in the latter group, the programs were identical. Yoga classes were 75 minutes long and included yoga philosophy, meditation, pranayama, warm-ups, asana (including forward bends, back bends, and twists), and deep relaxation. Instructors modified poses as needed with either props or using the support of chairs or walls.

Participants were encouraged to practice yoga for 30 minutes daily at home on non-class days, and were provided with an audio CD, handbook, and props. Participants could continue their regular ongoing LBP treatments, including medications. They were discouraged, however, from starting new treatments.

Data showed that participants in both study groups experienced statistically significant decreases in pain and improvements in back-related function.

Of the 95 participants, 52 (32 in the once-weekly group, 20 in the twice-weekly group) completed the 12-week program. (Home practice adherence rates in both groups were similar, averaging 4 days a week.) Data showed that participants in both study groups experienced statistically significant decreases in pain and improvements in back-related function. Additionally, use of pain medication had decreased in both the once- (27%) and twice-weekly (35%) groups by 6 weeks. Adverse events (the most common being musculoskeletal pain) were reported, but most were self-limited, not serious, and not definitely related to the yoga intervention.

In their conclusions, the investigators recommended that yoga programs for treating chronic LBP be implemented in community and healthcare settings to help serve the needs of low-income patients, who often have limited access to both medical and complementary LBP treatments.

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

“Self-OMT”: yoga boosts patients’ structure and function, DOs say

Article by Rose Raymond. The Do. American Osteopathic Association website. Published January 23, 2013. Accessed February 11, 2015.


In this article, osteopathic doctors reported that patients in their care experienced an increased reduction of back pain when yoga was added to their osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) regimen. Because of its focus on spinal movement and structural alignment, yoga works the body in a way that is similar to OMT, the doctors explained.

Lillie Rosenthal, a Manhattan-based DO, is quoted throughout the article. Osteopath Eden Fromberg, an obstetrician/gynecologist and the founder/director of Lila Yoga in Manhattan, is also interviewed.

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Therapeutic application of Iyengar yoga for healing chronic low back pain

Research paper by Kimberly Williams, Lois Steinberg, John Petronis. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2003;13:55-67.


Prior to introducing their research, the investigators reviewed, in detail, the rationale and methodology for using Iyengar yoga as therapeutic treatment for chronic nonspecific low-back pain (LBP). Their discussion of Iyengar yoga therapy sequences for LBP is accompanied by photographs of students receiving therapy.

In their lengthy discussion, the investigators noted that “yoga postures lengthen, tone, and reeducate all muscles that cause aggravation of the lower back to reinforce proper motor patterns. These include all the muscles that attach to or influence the pelvic girdle, including muscles of the abdomen, diaphragm, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip adductors and lateral rotators, buttocks, and muscles of the lumbar and thoracic areas of the back.”

“Yoga postures lengthen, tone, and reeducate all muscles that cause aggravation of the lower back to reinforce proper motor patterns.” -Williams et al, 2003

In the investigators’ randomized, controlled, 16-week study of the therapeutic application of Iyengar yoga for LBP, participants were randomized into either a yoga therapy group or an education group (control). Subjects in the education group received weekly newsletters on LBP topics. The yoga intervention included postures that help lengthen back extensor muscles, broaden the back of the pelvis, align the pelvis, rotate the spine, tone the abdomen, and invert the body. Many props were utilized in the yoga intervention, including wall ropes, benches, bolsters, and weights.

Of the 60 participants enrolled, 42 (age range, 27 to 67 years) completed the study. Analysis showed that subjects in the yoga group experienced significant improvements (assessed via questionnaires) in several areas vs the control group: higher functional ability (self-efficacy questionnaire), lower catastrophizing (coping strategies questionnaire), and both a decrease in pain intensity and an increase in perceived control over pain (pain attitudes questionnaire). Additionally, the yoga group showed a trend toward greater pain tolerance at several areas in the low back and pelvis compared with the control group. Also notable is that pain medication usage was significantly reduced in the yoga group vs control (88% vs 35%, respectively) at both post-study and 3-month follow-up assessments.

Wednesday, May 14th, 2003
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