The results of the study indicate that patients interested in trying yoga for lower back pain could benefit from attending a medically appropriate weekly yoga class.
The study was led by first author Robert Saper, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine at BUSM and director of integrative medicine at BMC.
Saper said that lower income patients often have worse lower back pain due to limited access to both mainstream health care treatments and complementary treatments such as yoga, massage and acupuncture.
In this 12-week randomized trial, 95 predominantly low-income adults suffering from moderate to severe lower back pain were divided into two groups.
One group attended yoga class once a week and the other attended twice a week, and both groups were encouraged to practice the poses and techniques at home.
At the end of the 12 weeks, both groups of participants experienced similar and substantial decreases in their pain level and need for pain medications, but there was no additional benefit seen in those attending twice a week. Also, their ability to perform daily functions improved.
The study has been published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.