Pain-BackProf. ErnstYoga

Yoga to help ease low back pain

It has been suggested that yoga has a positive effect on low back pain and function.

Now, Prof. Ernst and colleagues have reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • 7 studies were included in the review.
  • Their methodological quality ranged between 2 and 4 on the Jadad scale.

And, the results.

  • 5 studies suggested that yoga leads to a significantly greater reduction in low back pain than usual care, education, or conventional therapeutic exercises.
  • 2 studies showed no differences between treatment groups.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Yoga has the potential to alleviate low back pain.”

“However, any definitive claims should be treated with caution.”

A summary and links to several positive studies of yoga for chronic low back pain are here.

Johns Hopkins Health Alerts tells us, “Not all yoga is the same. If your doctor gives you the green light, make sure you know exactly what type of yoga is being taught before you sign up. Some schools of yoga like Kundalini, Ashtanga and Bikram (“hot”) yoga are fairly specialized and may be too challenging for beginners. Viniyoga and Iyengar yoga are appropriate for newcomers and those with physical limitations such as back pain.”

6/25/11 19:48 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.