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Treating Common Back Pain With Yoga

Last week, I told you about the use of yoga to tame the damaging effects of serious diseases ranging from AIDS to Crohn"s disease. A new study has found taking yoga classes to be much more beneficial and effective for a more common problem -- chronic low back pain -- than learning how to treat it from a book and even taking therapeutic exercise classes.

Researchers monitored the progress of about 100 patients (mainly women in their 40s) divided into three groups: Those given a book to read on back pain and others assigned to exercise classes taught by a physical therapist or sessions in viniyoga, a specially designed and therapeutic style of yoga emphasizing safety.

The good news is that the back health of all three groups improved, but those assigned to yoga classes benefited the most (78 percent) based on the Roland Disability Scale, a standard measure that evaluates how patients perform daily tasks like tying their shoes without pain.

Here"s an even greater benefit: Yoga patients significantly reduced their reliance on health-harming drugs to relieve their back pain. Almost 60 percent had been using some form of pain reliever but, by the end of the study, the number still using pain drugs declined drastically to 21 percent.

And what about patients given a book on taking better care of their backs? Their use of pain meds increased from 50 to 57 percent...

Just a reminder, there are safer, healthier ways to treat your pain, apart from using a potentially toxic drug.

Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 143, No. 12, December 20, 2005: 849-856 Free Full Text Article

Forbes.com December 20, 2005

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