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Yoga for Back Pain

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Do you have lower back pain? Most of us can expect to experience it at some point in our lives. For many people, it’s chronic. Now a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds that a yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy in easing pain.

The protocol was developed by researchers at Boston Medical Center with input from yoga teachers, doctors and physical therapists. It focuses on gentle poses, like the cat-cow,the triangle pose and child’s pose. Relaxation techniques were part of the class as well. Take note: More difficult poses, like inversions, should be avoided.

After about a year, the yoga participants had about the same amount of improvement as the group that received physical therapy. The study also found that though around 70 percent of participants were taking pain medication when the study began, the number decreased to around 50 percent at the end of the first three months, for both the yoga and the physical therapy groups. Medical guidelines recommend that people with back pain should avoid pain medicines if possible.

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