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Yoga May Help Low Back Pain. Mental Effects? Not So Much

charityfundraiser

Senior Member
Messages
140
Location
SF Bay Area
So they finally discovered that yoga is a physical exercise and stretching! After all those studies and articles about yoga and tai chi being of mild benefit for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, they never fail to suggest that it's probably to do with mind/body mumbo jumbo and the mental and social benefits (as if yoga would stop working if you did it at home alone with a video or something!)

Yoga May Help Low Back Pain. Mental Effects? Not So Much
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204777904576651230399881192.html
 

Dolphin

Senior Member
Messages
17,567
Here's the abstract.
Here's the important line:
Yoga was not superior to conventional stretching exercises at any time point.

ONLINE FIRST
A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain

Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH; Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD; Robert D. Wellman, MS; Andrea J. Cook, PhD; Rene J. Hawkes, BS; Kristin Delaney, MPH; Richard A. Deyo, MD, MPH

Arch Intern Med. Published online October 24, 2011. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.524

Background Chronic low back pain is a common problem lacking highly effective treatment options. Small trials suggest that yoga may have benefits for this condition. This trial was designed to determine whether yoga is more effective than conventional stretching exercises or a self-care book for primary care patients with chronic low back pain.

Methods A total of 228 adults with chronic low back pain were randomized to 12 weekly classes of yoga (92 patients) or conventional stretching exercises (91 patients) or a self-care book (45 patients). Back-related functional status (modified Roland Disability Questionnaire, a 23-point scale) and bothersomeness of pain (an 11-point numerical scale) at 12 weeks were the primary outcomes. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6, 12, and 26 weeks by interviewers unaware of treatment group.

Results After adjustment for baseline values, 12-week outcomes for the yoga group were superior to those for the self-care group (mean difference for function, 2.5 [95% CI, 3.7 to 1.3]; P < .001; mean difference for symptoms, 1.1 [95% CI, 1.7 to 0.4]; P < .001). At 26 weeks, function for the yoga group remained superior (mean difference, 1.8 [95% CI, 3.1 to 0.5]; P < .001). Yoga was not superior to conventional stretching exercises at any time point.

Conclusion Yoga classes were more effective than a self-care book, but not more effective than stretching classes, in improving function and reducing symptoms due to chronic low back pain, with benefits lasting at least several months.

Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00447668