Yoga Can Help Ease Lower Back Pain, Says Study

Why forward bends and child's pose might be worth a try

From releasing stress to perfecting posture, the mind and body benefits of yoga have been well reported.

There seems to be no end to the benefits.

A new study which analysed more than 1,000 men and women with long-term lower back pain found that those who practised yoga were most likely to reduce their symptoms, The Telegraph reports.

The people involved in the 12 trials, which were carried out in the UK, US and India, practised yoga positions specifically designed for treatment of lower back pain and were guided by qualified teachers. The results found that compared to no exercise, yoga can improve mobility in the back and reduce pain in the short-term.

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However, as the findings only cover a 12 month period, experts are calling for further trials to fully understand the link between yoga and back pain.

"Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to reducing the symptoms of lower back pain by a small amount, but the results have come from studies with a short follow-up," lead author Susan Wieland, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explained.

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"At the moment we only have low to moderate quality evidence for the effects of yoga before six months as a type of exercise for helping people with chronic back pain."

She also warned that yoga might not be for everyone, as one in 20 participants across the 12 studies had reported their back pain getting worse.

However, it's not the first time yoga has been linked with easing back issues. A UK study from 2011 found that offering a 12-week yoga programme to adults with chronic or recurrent lower back pain was found to have greater benefits than usual care.

So, what's the lesson? "If you have chronic low back pain and you're interested in trying yoga, and your doctor agrees, it's worth a try," Weiland told Reuters. "But be sure you're attending a yoga class where the yoga is designed to be helpful and safe for people with back issues." At the very least, it could help you feel empowered.

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