We see lot about the benefits of yoga: that it can calm the mind, ease stress and heal the body. But is there any evidence to support that yoga is good for our backs?
Most of us think of yoga as leggings, pan flute music and that “airy fairy mumbo jumbo” that hippies were into. Believe it or not, yoga is over 5000 years old and does have scientific evidence to support the health benefits of its practice.
Americans are into it
Over 16 million Americans currently practice some form of yoga, according to a recent article in the Princeton Press.
Years ago doctors would prescribe bed rest if you injured or “wrenched” your back. People would be told to lie prone and not move until they felt their back was “better.” The bad news, according to a site sponsored by the University of Toronto, is that with most muscle-related injuries this actually makes the tightness, pain and range of motion worse.
Why yoga helps
People who practice yoga at least twice a week “are twice as likely to cut back on pain medications” compared to people who tried other things on their own, according to an article in the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
Moving your back, including stretching and concentrating on breathing, has shown to help people who suffer with chronic back pain, confirms a study done by the University of Washington and noted on Prevention.com.
The biggest change
The biggest change for people who took up yoga was their increased confidence in their ability to perform chores and other tasks.
If you have back pain consult a medical professional. Ask if yoga might help. Current medical thinking is that staying active, and keeping moving may be the best thing for sore, achy backs.