Effects of yoga on chronic neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Rehabil. 2017 Nov;31(11):1457-1465. doi: 10.1177/0269215517698735. Epub 2017 Mar 9.


Objective: The aim of this review was to systematically assess and meta-analyze the effectiveness of yoga in relieving chronic neck pain.

Methods: PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, Scopus, and IndMED were screened through January 2017 for randomized controlled trials assessing neck pain intensity and/or neck pain-related disability in chronic neck pain patients. Secondary outcome measures included quality of life, mood, and safety. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool.

Results: Three studies on 188 patients with chronic non-specific neck pain comparing yoga to usual care were included. Two studies had overall low risk of bias; and one had high or unclear risk of bias for several domains. Evidence for short-term effects was found for neck pain intensity (standardized mean difference (SMD) = -1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -1.18, -0.75; P < 0.001), neck pain-related disability (SMD = -0.97; 95% CI = -1.44, -0.50; P < 0.001), quality of life (SMD = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.17, 0.197; P = 0.005), and mood (SMD = -1.02; 95% CI = -1.38, -0.65; P < 0.001). Effects were robust against potential methodological bias and did not differ between different intervention subgroups. In the two studies that included safety data, no serious adverse events occurred.

Conclusion: Yoga has short-term effects on chronic neck pain, its related disability, quality of life, and mood suggesting that yoga might be a good treatment option.

Keywords: Neck pain; meta-analysis; systematic review; yoga.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Neck Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Yoga*