Efficacy of Yoga Therapy in Treating Low Back Pain

Research Article

Ann Yoga Phys Ther. 2017; 2(4): 1034.

Efficacy of Yoga Therapy in Treating Low Back Pain

James McKivigan*

School of Physical Therapy, Touro University Nevada, USA

*Corresponding author: James McKivigan, School of Physical Therapy, College of Health and Human Services, USA

Received: August 29, 2017; Accepted: October 06, 2017; Published: October 13, 2017


Background: Non-specific low back pain is a frequent condition that is often treated using non-pharmaceutical interventions such as exercise therapy. Yoga is one popular form of mind-body workout that can be applied to treat nonspecific low back pain.

Objective: To evaluate the impact yoga as a treatment therapy for chronic non-specific low back pain has on pain and functional ability in comparison to no exercise or the prescription of medication.

Search Methods: A review of existing studies that described randomized control trials that focused on the treatment of chronic low back pain with yoga and were published between January 2000 and mid-March 2016 was performed. The studies were identified by performing a search on the following information sources: Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL, four trial registers and five additional databases.

Results: Previous research in combination with the latest Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) indicate that yoga can increase mobility, reduce pain, can be accomplished safely, and is positively received by patients. Some research indicates that yoga may also enhance psychological symptoms; however, the validity of these findings is yet to be established.

Keywords: Chronic low back pain; Treatment yoga; Randomized control trials


A significant amount of money is currently invested in the delivery of health care interventions for the treatment of chronic health issues. These conditions comprise back pain, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases, among others [1]. These lifestyle ailments are typically caused by harmful daily habits that lead to sickness and undermine the mobility of the population. Such behaviors include lack of adequate nutrition, a diet that is high in fat, poor ergonomics in the work environment, and lack of physical exercise, among many others.

Non-specific chronic spinal pain is one of the most commonly reported musculoskeletal ailments, and it has a detrimental economic effect on public health resources and a negative impact on the quality of life of the afflicted individual [2,3]. However, despite the severity of the problems associated with low back pain, medical practitioners find it difficult to formulate efficient preventative interventions that prevent it from escalating to a chronic form.

Previous studies have found that yoga represents an effective intervention by which lower back pain can be treated; for example, that of [4]. Yoga is a nonsurgical, noninvasive, and nondrug alternative that can bring about positive changes to health-related behaviors [5]. If practiced correctly, yoga poses can help reduce pain and enhance mobility.



A review of the existing studies that have examined the extent to which practicing yoga can reduce the impact yoga has on patients with chronic low back pain been conducted. The Embassy, PubMed, Cochrane, CINAHL, CENTRAL, and MEDLINE databases were searched for articles that were published between January 2000 and mid-March 2016 that contained the following keywords: low back pain, Yoga, sickness, disability, exercise, review.

Study inclusion and exclusion criteria

The inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) The participants of the studies included in the review were diagnosed with chronic low back pain, (2) yoga represented the primary intervention for treating the chronic back pain, (3) the article was original, (4) the article described a clinical trial, (5) the article was written in English, (6) the study compared two distinct groups of students with chronic low back pain that were randomly allotted to either a group that practiced yoga or a group that acted as a matched control, (7) the participants had a neurological or severe spinal pathology, and (8) the study monitored pain or pain-linked functional results. The exclusion criteria were as follows: (1) Studies that included participants who were under the age of 18 and (2) those that included subjects who did not disclose chronic low back pain.

Selection of studies

The original search of the database identified 67 studies that were potentially relevant to the review. The study reports that did not include an abstract were omitted, leaving 45 articles. The abstracts and titles of the remaining articles were carefully screened against the inclusion criteria, and 32 articles were selected for further evaluation. Following a review of the full body of the articles against the inclusion criteria, six studies were determined to be appropriate to the research objectives. The remaining articles were excluded on the basis of incorporation of other treatment modalities such as physical therapy, and manual therapy. These studies subsequently underwent an extensive review and were rated according to the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine guidelines (Figure 1).

Citation:James M. Efficacy of Yoga Therapy in Treating Low Back Pain. Ann Yoga Phys Ther. 2017; 2(4): 1034.