Low back pain or lumbago is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting 80% of people at some point in their lives. In the United States it is the most common cause of job-related disability, a leading contributor to missed work, and the second most common neurological ailment — only headache is more common. It can be either acute, subacute or chronic in duration. With conservative measures, the symptoms of low back pain typically show significant improvement within a few weeks from onset.
Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India. The word, yoga is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Yoga includes gentle stretches, breathing practices and deep relaxation. The combination of these practices prove beneficial in reducing stress, increasing flexibility, reducing joint pain and improves the immune system, thereby, helping to fight diseases. It also delays the aging process, increases energy level, improves mood, reduces depression, and increases zest for life.
According to a recent systematic review, yoga appears to have a positive effect of low back pain. Researchers searched seven databases for randomized clinical trials from their inception through March 2011. The review only included randomized controlled clinical trails that investigated using yoga as a tool to relieve pain in patients suffering with low back pain. A total of seven trials met the inclusion criteria. Five of the seven trials concluded that yoga leads to a significant reduction in back pain as compared to receiving usual care. Two of the trials did not find significant differences between the yoga groups and the usual care groups. These results suggest that yoga is potentially beneficial to people suffering with low back pain although definitive claims should be regarded with caution.