Objectives: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) affects millions of people worldwide, and appears to be increasing in prevalence. It is associated not only with pain, but also with increased disability, psychological symptoms, and reduced quality of life. There are various treatment options for CLBP, but no single therapy stands out as being the most effective. In the past 10 years, yoga interventions have been studied as a CLBP treatment approach. The objective of this paper is to review the current literature supporting the efficacy of yoga for CLBP.
Methods: A literature search through the beginning of 2015 was conducted in Pub Med for randomized control trials addressing treatment of CLBP with yoga.
Results: In this review we evaluate the use of yoga as a treatment for CLBP. Specifically we evaluate how yoga impacts physical functioning and disability, pain, and associated psychological symptoms. We also evaluate possible mediators of the effect of yoga and the safety of yoga.
Discussion: With few exceptions, previous studies and the recent randomized control trials (RCTs) indicate that yoga can reduce pain and disability, can be practiced safely, and is well received by participants. Some studies also indicate that yoga may improve psychological symptoms, but these effects are currently not as well established.
Keywords: Chronic pain; Complementary therapies; Low back pain; Muscle stretching exercises; Yoga.