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Specific Yoga Type Improves Back Pain, Treats Depression and Increases Mobility
|Written by Administrator|
People with chronic low-back problems who do yoga also do better at overcoming pain and depression than people treated conventionally for back pain, a West Virginia University study funded by the National Institutes of Health shows.
The three-year, $400,000 study, published in the September issue of the journal Spine, showed lifted mood, less pain and improved function in the group that did yoga postures compared with a control group who received standard medical therapy.
The 90 study subjects, who experienced mild to moderate functional disability, were randomly assigned to the yoga group or the group that received conventional medical therapy. Yoga participants took 90-minute classes twice a week for 24 weeks, doing postures targeted to relieve chronic low-back pain. Follow up continued for six months after the end of classes or therapy.
The yoga group had less pain, less functional disability and less depression compared with the control group,” said Kimberly Williams, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine. “These were statistically significant and clinically important changes that were maintained six months after the intervention.”
The yoga classes were taught by certified Iyengar yoga instructors. Iyengar yoga is a popularform of yoga in the United States, that uses props such as belts, blocks, cushions, benches, etc. as aids in perfoming asanas (postures). These aids allow beginners to experience asana easier and fully than might otherwise be possible without several years of practice. A form of Hatha yoga , Iyengar yoga is based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga, emphasizing the development of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, as well as concentration ( Dharana ) and meditation ( Dhyana ). Iyengar yoga characterized by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment. Derivative forms of Iyengar yoga include Sivananda Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
There have been many studies performed on the effects of Iyengar yoga on patients with physical problems. In general, Iyengar yoga is useful in physical therapy because it assists in the manipulation of inflexible or injured areas.
Proponents of yoga have long described the health benefits of yoga , especially in reducing back pain,” Williams said. “But not everybody was convinced. This is a mu...