Yoga, Tai Chi For Back Pain
People with low back pain are often instructed to consider exercise and mind-body interventions rather than medication. To explore how well some of these alternatives work, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College for Design and Social Inquiry and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing looked into the effects of yoga, tai chi and qigong They found only 32 peer-reviewed studies of the use of the three therapies to treat low back pain and reported that long duration and “high dose” yoga appeared to be the most effective. The studies reviewed showed that tai chi reduced acute lower back pain, worked better than stretching among men in their 20s and led to greater reductions in pain-related disability than other treatments. The researchers reported that they learned little about the effects of qigong because they found only three studies related to low back pain. Overall, however, they concluded that most of the studies reviewed showed that movement-based mind-body interventions reduced pain, depression, anxiety and pain-related disability among patients with low back pain and also improved their functional ability.
My take? I have long recommended yoga as a means of relieving back pain. Recent research from Boston Medical Center confirmed that both yoga and physical therapy can ease back pain and help affected people sleep. That study, published in October 2019, found that 12 weeks of yoga classes or one-on-one physical therapy reduced back pain among the 320 adults participating and improved the quality of sleep in those who complained of sleeping problems.
Juyoung Park et al, “A Narrative Review of Movement-Based Mind-Body Interventions.” Holistic Nursing Practice, January-February 2020, DOI: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000360
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