Although many yoga teachers will have anecdotal evidence from their students about how their back pain has been helped or improved through yoga, there is now real evidence to back (!) this up. The world’s largest ever scientific yoga study, research by the universities of York and Manchester, has found that people who were given a specially-designed 12-week yoga programme experienced greater improvements in back function and more confidence in performing everyday tasks than those offered conventional forms of GP care. Over 300 people were involved in the research study.
You can read a press release about the research here or a more detailed article here. With apparently 80% of the UK population suffering from back pain at some point in their lives, knowing the best ways to manage it is very important. The study found that yoga provided not only short term benefits over three months, but also longer term benefits after a year.
More information about the study can be found on the Yoga Trial website, and on the Yoga for Back Pain Web page which has been set up by the yoga teachers who designed the programme. A book and CD are available to purchase from the Yoga for Back Pain website. Yoga teachers may be interested to know that there is a separate version of the book which is a manual for teachers, and courses are also offered in learning how to teach the specific 12-week lower back care programme.