When you see a pose like the one in the picture, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have to be in the peak of fitness and super-flexible to practise yoga. Quite the opposite…
A study published in January reveals that yoga is better than any other form of exercise for back pain. Researchers analysed the results of 12 randomised clinical trials, involving 1,080 men and women aged 34 to 48 suffering from ‘chronic non-specific’ lower back pain (chronic being defined as lasting longer than three months, non-specific that doctors didn’t know the cause). The analysis – comparing yoga, exercise, no exercise and using a self-care book for back problems – suggested that those who did yoga over a period of six to 12 months were more likely to report reduced pain and better flexibility. So encouraging were the results that lead author of the study Susan Wieland, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has called for more research to be conducted for a longer period of time.
Which is great news for the one in 10 Britons who complain of back pain and usually end up resorting to painkillers to kill the ache – especially when they don’t even work! New research shows that common over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen make hardly any difference for back pain – only one in six people get significant relief, according to the study at the University of Sydney. ‘Our results show anti-inflammatory drugs actually only provide very limited, short-term pain relief,’ said lead researcher Prof Manuela Ferreira. ‘They do reduce the level of pain but only very slightly, and arguably not of any clnical significance.’
So forget the painkillers. Forget the aerobic and biomechanical exercise for chronic lower back pain recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). Come have some yoga fun with us at The Natural Health Hub: our teachers will tailor the classes to your needs and are more than happy to chat if you have a back issue.