And finally, it seems that yoga may be just as good, if not better, than physical therapy (PT) for relief from back pain.
The study included over 300 low-income patients experiencing chronic back pain with no obvious cause, like spinal stenosis. Patients were randomly assigned to PT, yoga, or education and were followed for 1 year. The researchers found that for some patients, quality yoga was superior to PT in relieving back pain, especially among those who were more dedicated to practicing it.
Another benefit was seen in pain medication use. At the beginning of the study, almost 75% of the participants were taking pain medications, with about 20% using opioids. After 12 weeks, 20% of both the yoga and the PT groups had reduced their usage of pain meds.
This is also good news from a cost perspective. Quality yoga instruction is often less expensive than physical therapy. And in general, yoga is good for the brain, and practicing it may help with pain tolerance.