Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Clin J Pain. 2013;29:450-60.
Does yoga reduce pain or disability or improve quality of life in people with chronic low back pain?
Low back pain is a common reason that people see their family doctor. Although some drugs can help to reduce low back pain, some people prefer not to take drugs, especially over the long term.
Yoga is a type of complementary or alternative medicine. It can include physical exercises, relaxation, and lifestyle changes.
The researchers did a systematic review, searching for studies that were published up to January 2012. They found 10 randomized controlled trials with 967 patients (average age 44 to 48 years). The key features of the studies were:
The quality of the evidence was strong for short-term pain and disability and moderate for long-term pain and disability.
Compared with usual care, education or other exercise, yoga
Yoga was no different than usual care, education or other exercise for health-related quality of life.
In people with low back pain, yoga reduces pain and back-related disability more than usual care, education or other exercise at up to 1 year.
Yoga versus control (usual care, education, or other exercise) for low back pain
|Outcomes||Short term (about 3 months)||Long term (about 1 year)|
|Pain||Small decrease with yoga||Small decrease with yoga|
|Back-related disability||Medium decrease with yoga||Small decrease with yoga|
|Health-related quality of life||No difference between yoga and control||No difference between yoga and control|
This Evidence Summary was originally prepared for the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.
Published: Monday, August 14, 2017