At any given moment, 31 million Americans are experiencing low back pain.
And, low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
If you suffer from pain in your low back, you know how difficult it can make your life. The aching, stiffness and even shooting pains can make even small movements miserable.
It’s no wonder that people in the U.S. spend over $50 billion each year trying to get relief from their back pain.
One of the main ways doctors treat patients who come to their office with this complaint other than with prescription pain medications is through a course of physical therapy (PT).
In fact, 22 percent of people who see a doctor for their low back pain are sent to a physical therapist.
PT can help build the strength of your muscles, increase mobility and range of motion, decrease inflammation and overall help you get out of pain.
The problem is that not everyone can afford the time and money it takes to complete a full course of treatment.
Because of this, 70 percent of patients don’t attend all of the visits recommended by their doctors.
If you’re like these people and have chronic low back pain but would like an easier and possibly less expensive alternative to physical therapy, then you’re in luck.
Recent research has shown that for people with low back pain, practicing yoga is just as effective for achieving relief as physical therapy.
Improved pain and function
Previous studies have already shown yoga’s benefits in improving pain and function and decreasing the need for pain medication.
But, the new study marks the first time that the 5,000 year-old practice was ever compared head-to-head with PT to find out which works best for pain relief.
Even more amazing than the fact that yoga proved to be just as effective as physical therapy for chronic low back pain was the fact the results were achieved with just one 75-minute class per week.
Everything else was left up the patients to do at home using a DVD. Many physical therapy protocols require multiple visits each week, along with home exercises.
Both groups, the yoga and the PT group, experienced significant pain reduction on top of decreasing their need for pain meds by 20 percent.
Slow and gentle is the way to start
The study makes it clear. If you’re ready to finally get rid of your low back pain, yoga is a great option.
There are no high co-pays or limits on the number of visits.
And, you can even practice in your own home.
All you need is a mat and a DVD or you can even watch instructional yoga videos on the Easy Health Option’s site for free.
Whether you choose to practice at a studio or at home, the key is to start slow and gentle.
Give your back time to adapt to the changes you’re expecting of it and take the time to learn the correct way to do each pose.
Yoga lengthens your spine, helps stretch and strengthen your muscles, improves your balance and range of motion and helps return your back to its proper alignment. Make this ancient practice part of your life and you could finally end your low back pain for good. And follow this advice for avoiding injury.
Editor’s note: If you suffer from chronic pain and conventional medicine has let you down, or you just want to escape the potential dangers of OTC and prescription drugs even for occasional pain, you must read Conquering the Pain: An Alternative Doctor’s Fresh Look at the Newest and Oldest in Alternative Pain Therapies. Click here to get your copy today!
Back Pain Facts and Statistics — American Chiropractic Association