Study: Yoga as Good as Physical Therapy for Back Pain

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A recent study by Robert B. Saper, MD, director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center, looks compares the benefits of yoga and physical therapy on back pain. The study demonstrated that yoga and PT are roughly equal in their ability to alleviate back pain, while PT provides better education. However, the yoga program in the study was very regimented and organized, so the results might not apply to any yoga studio.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yoga is as good as physical therapy in reducing chronic low back pain, the most common pain problem in the United States, new research shows.
  • Previous research has shown that yoga improves pain and function and reduces medication use.
  • Yoga proved to be safe, with only mild, usually temporary worsening of back pain.

“Some patients did have difficulty, especially those who were obese, Saper says. “But these classes go slow and gentle; the first class may be just getting people on the floor, knees to chest, or in a table position.””

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