Yoga for Back Pain: Evidence in 2016
This systematic review evaluated the evidences supporting the effectiveness of Yoga for chronic LBP.
Conclusions #1: Yoga is effective at reducing pain and disability associated with chronic LBP
Conclusions #2: Yoga is considered safe as there were no serious adverse effects associated with its practice
Conclusions #3: Yoga may also help improve mood in patients with chronic LBP, but more studies are required
Personal note: I strongly endorse Yoga to pretty much all my patients with persistent pain. I simply tell them, “You don’t have to put your legs behind your head to benefit from Yoga, you just need to gently breathe and move in any and every direction that your body finds comfortable.”
The benefits of Yoga are likely from the slow movements, the controlled breathing, the awareness required to go into certain poses, the body scan meditations and the relaxation done at the end of the class. I also do not underestimate the value of getting patients to leave their house to attend a group class where they may even slightly socialize. Loneliness and lack of human contact are not conducive to healing.
Reference: Chang DG et al Yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain: A systematic review of the literature. J Orthop Rheumatol. 2016 Jan 1;3(1):1-8.