Recent studies have found that yoga is just as effective as physical therapy in improving function and reducing need for pain medication in cases of back pain. The effects were seen up to a year after the study was finished. An important factor in this study was the inclusion of minorities and people with low-income as back pain is most common in these groups. The yoga performed for the study was designed specifically for back pain so it might not apply to all yoga but it is still very important. Physical therapy is often covered by medical insurance but copayments are often very expensive while yoga is much easier to afford.
- People in the active treatment groups reported that their pain was less intense than it was at the start of the study and that they were able to physically move more
- This research is unique because the people in the study were racially diverse, and most were from low-income families
- The once-a-week yoga classes in the study were designed specifically for back-pain patients, the authors note, so the results may not apply to all types of yoga or all kinds of classes
“The new research put yoga head-to-head against physical therapy and found the two were equally good at restoring function and reducing the need for pain medication over time.”