Yoga For Back Pain

A recent study on yoga for back pain was conducted at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Institute, near Bangalore, South India. The study demonstrated the effectiveness of a short-term, intensive yoga program for sufferers of chronic low back pain (CLBP). …


Eighty patients diagnosed with CBLB participated in the study. They were randomly placed into two groups: Forty into an experimental yoga group, and forty into a control group. The experimental group engaged in a week-long yoga-based program, while the control group was prescribed a non-yogic, physical exercise based intervention.

Both groups carried out a comparable daily schedule for seven straight days, with the yoga group engaging in meditations, yoga postures (yoga asanas), mantra chanting, pranayama (yogic breathing), yoga relaxation and devotional hymns (bhajans), while also attending discourses on a yogic based lifestyle.

The control group engaged in walks, therapeutically designed exercise routines, non-yogic breathing practices, listening to music and watching video shows on nature, while also attended healthy lifestyle lectures.

The Results:

Spinal flexibility was measured, and a special “functional disability test” administered to the participants, both at the beginning as well as the conclusion of the seven-day period of this yoga for back pain study.

The results showed an improvement in spinal flexibility in both groups, with the yoga group demonstrating a considerably greater improvement in spinal flexibility than the control group.

The functional disability test was in the form of a self-assessment questionnaire, which included graded questions for assessing the degree of pain in 10 different areas of living, such as walking, standing, social life, etc. The total score of this test was expressed as an index ranging from zero to 100, with zero representing the least amount of disability, and 100 the most.

The average total disability scores in the yoga group decreased from 36.5 to 18.7, representing a 49% reduction, and a shift from “moderate” to “mild” disability. Surprisingly, however, the reduction in functional disability for the control group was statistically negligible.

These results indicate that the yogic-based regimen was significantly more effective in the treatment of CLBP than the non-yogic therapy approach, providing convincing support that yoga for back pain, and more specifically, yoga-based lifestyle programs can be very effective in the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain.

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