Yoga eases back pain in largest US study to date

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    Oct 26, 2011 7:50 PM GMT
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-10-yoga-eases-pain-largest-date.html

    Yoga classes were linked to better back-related function and diminished symptoms from chronic low back pain in the largest U.S. randomized controlled trial of yoga to date, published by the Archives of Internal Medicine as an "Online First" article on October 24. But so were intensive stretching classes.

    "We found yoga classes more effective than a self-care book—but no more effective than stretching classes," said study leader Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute. Back-related function was better and symptoms were diminished with yoga at 12 weeks; and clinically important benefits, including less use of pain medications, lasted at least six months for both yoga and stretching, with thorough follow-up of more than nine in 10 participants.

    In the trial, 228 adults in six cities in western Washington state were randomly assigned to 12 weekly 75-minute classes of either yoga or stretching exercises or a comprehensive self-care book called The Back Pain Helpbook. Nine in 10 of them were primary-care patients at Group Health Cooperative. Participants in the trial typically had moderate—not severe—back pain and relatively good mental health, and most had been at least somewhat active before the trial started.

    The class participants received instructional videos and were encouraged to practice at home for 20 minutes a day between their weekly classes. Interviewers who didn't know the patients' treatment assignments assessed their back-related function and pain symptoms at six weeks, 12 weeks, and six months.

    In 2005, Dr. Sherman and her colleagues conducted a smaller study that found yoga effective for easing chronic low back pain. "In our new trial," she said, "we wanted both to confirm those results in a larger group and to see how yoga compared to a different form of exercise of comparable physical exertion: stretching.

    Both the yoga and stretching classes emphasized the torso and legs:

    - The type of yoga used in the trial, called viniyoga, adapts the principles of yoga for each individual and physical condition, with modifications for people with physical limitations. The yoga classes also used breathing exercises, with a deep relaxation at the end.
    - The stretching classes used 15 different stretching exercises, including stretches of the hamstrings and hip flexors and rotators. Each was held for a minute and repeated once, for a total of 52 minutes of stretching. Strengthening exercises were also included.

    "We expected back pain to ease more with yoga than with stretching, so our findings surprised us," Dr. Sherman said. "The most straightforward interpretation of our findings would be that yoga's benefits on back function and symptoms were largely physical, due to the stretching and strengthening of muscles."

    But the stretching classes included a lot more stretching than in most such classes, with each stretch held for a relatively long time. "People may have actually begun to relax more in the stretching classes than they would in a typical exercise class," she added. "In retrospect, we realized that these stretching classes were a bit more like yoga than a more typical exercise program would be." So the trial might have compared rather similar programs with each other.

    "Our results suggest that both yoga and stretching can be good, safe options for people who are willing to try physical activity to relieve their moderate low back pain," Dr. Sherman concluded. "But it's important for the classes to be therapeutically oriented, geared for beginners, and taught by instructors who can modify postures for participants' individual physical limitations."

    In an invited commentary, Timothy S. Carey, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, called Dr. Sherman's study "an excellent example of a pragmatic comparative effectiveness trial," noting that the Institute of Medicine has identified chronic back pain as a priority condition for such studies.
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    Oct 26, 2011 11:06 PM GMT
    Cool report. Have to start doing more yoga, Definitely.icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 27, 2011 12:53 AM GMT
    Leading cause of back pain: Tight hamstrings?

    I think yes.
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    Oct 27, 2011 1:35 AM GMT
    duh
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    Oct 27, 2011 1:58 AM GMT
    Probably only beneficial to people who focus upper body(like idiots) and people who never learned how to properly squat and dead lift.

    Building off of what Tdawg said: weak posterior chain
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    Oct 29, 2011 9:55 PM GMT
    SFYogi saidduh


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    Oct 29, 2011 10:08 PM GMT
    Tdawg saidLeading cause of back pain: Tight hamstrings?

    I think yes.


    Definitely yes. I started having some back troubles about 12 years ago. Went to a couple of physical therapists, and ultimately the solution is to finish every work out with runner's stretches icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    I stopped going to Yoga classes because it was making my back problems much worse.
  • starboard5

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    Oct 29, 2011 10:32 PM GMT
    paradox saidI stopped going to Yoga classes because it was making my back problems much worse.


    I'm sorry to hear this. Where were you taking classes? If you talk to a qualified teacher, he/she would be able to help you modify your practice and avoid pain. The first teaching of yoga is ahimsa (non-harm) and this is first and foremost directed at oneself.
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    Oct 29, 2011 10:36 PM GMT
    Vinyasa Flow in a hot room at the local Yoga studio.
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    Oct 30, 2011 11:33 PM GMT
    paradox saidVinyasa Flow in a hot room at the local Yoga studio.


    I was just gonna say... yoga is meant to be personalised to your body's individual needs.. not every position is even safe for everyone
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    Nov 05, 2011 4:42 AM GMT
    When fact & science come into conflict with belief & feelings, the outcome is rarely certain.

    On one hand, the article posted here in the forum quotes a doctor who tells us that both yoga and stretching can be good, safe options. It cites a specific comparative study involving 228 people in six different cities.

    On the other hand we have a religious leader telling us yoga is demonic. This ain't a quote from the 1800's or the 1900's . It's a declaration published in November, 2011 - just a couple days ago.
    http://pastormark.tv/2011/11/02/christian-yoga-its-a-stretch

    If the good pastor is right, then demons are responsible for clinically-proven healing.

    If science is right, then Lordy! Stop sending money to that religious guy. A good yoga mat would be a better investment.

  • 6packabs

    Posts: 216

    Nov 06, 2011 2:44 AM GMT
    I need some Yoga. I have super tight muscles on the inner side of my back just on the edge of my shoulder blades in toward my spine. I need those stretched like nobody's business.
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    Nov 06, 2011 3:05 AM GMT
    Yoga is fine. People who have bad workout theory will get more out of than someone who's already been taking care of themselves. .

  • guyindc78

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    Nov 06, 2011 12:41 PM GMT
    DBQmark saidWhen fact & science come into conflict with belief & feelings, the outcome is rarely certain.

    On one hand, the article posted here in the forum quotes a doctor who tells us that both yoga and stretching can be good, safe options. It cites a specific comparative study involving 228 people in six different cities.

    On the other hand we have a religious leader telling us yoga is demonic. This ain't a quote from the 1800's or the 1900's . It's a declaration published in November, 2011 - just a couple days ago.
    http://pastormark.tv/2011/11/02/christian-yoga-its-a-stretch

    If the good pastor is right, then demons are responsible for clinically-proven healing.

    If science is right, then Lordy! Stop sending money to that religious guy. A good yoga mat would be a better investment.


    Wow, that is some article. If yoga is demonic, I should have horns and a red tail by now. I've been doing yoga for a long time, and it is all about getting the body back to it's natural state of alignment. If they didn't have a word for it then, they might have used the earth and named the poses after animals...... I don't' know..... but a good yoga practice can really get you defined in certain sexy places on your body and such. Well, I'm already talking about sex. So I guess I'm going to hell now!!!