Low Back Pain: Yoga Helps

Low Back Pain: Yoga Helps

By Ed Coghlan

As yoga grows in popularity, there is growing evidence that it can help treat chronic lower back pain. The Cochrane Library published consolidated studies from 12 worldwide trials with 1080 patients carried out. Most trials used Iyengar, Hatha, or Viniyoga forms of yoga.

The authors indicated there is “low- to moderate-certainty evidence that yoga compared to non-exercise controls results in small to moderate improvements in back-related function at three and six months.”

Many people who are healing from injury or illness, or who suffer from chronic pain, especially back pain, have heard from their doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists that yoga may help.  But they wonder how one can do yoga if suffering from chronic pain.

The answer from many health practitioners and, of course, from yoga advocates is it can help.

The key seems to be to practice it very gently at first and practice it only with a yoga instructor who knows what he or she is doing.

What the studies have shown is that yoga is probably better than doing nothing and might be a little better than other back exercises you are already doing.

“The yoga exercises practiced in the studies were developed for lower back pain and people should also remember that in each of the studies we reviewed, the yoga classes were led by experienced practitioners,” said Dr. L. Susan Wieland from the University of Maryland who was lead author in the study.

She also warned that one in 20 participants in the 12 studies had reported their back pain getting worse after starting a course of yoga.

Here’s a story from the Telegraph that quoted Dr. Wieland.

Often lower back pain cases have an unknown cause, making them hard to treat, and patients often use  strong painkillers to address the discomfort.

The American Physical Therapy Association published a poll that had some key findings about how widespread low back pain is.

  • More than one-third of adults say low back pain has affected their ability to engage in tasks of daily living (39 percent), exercise (38 percent), and sleep (37 percent).
  • Low back pain isn’t just for those who spend a lot of time on their feet. In fact, more than half (54 percent) of Americans who experience low back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting.
  • Men (31 percent) are more likely than women (20 percent) to report that low back pain affects their ability to do work.
  • When experiencing low back pain, nearly three in four (72 percent) Americans use pain medication as a way to relieve their symptoms. More than half (55 percent) said they use heat and cold packs at home for relief.

Editor’s Note: In a study of one—namely myself—I know that exercise helps deal with lower back pain from which I’ve endured for nearly four decades. Let us know your thoughts.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 31 comments for this article
  1. connie at 12:56 pm

    I will never understand why the powers that be can’t see the difference between chronic pain where there’s damage causing the pain to be severe and an ache that responds to the occasional use of otc medication or excercise. Comparing the two is like comparing yellowed teeth to a mouth full of rotten teeth! Also many people who have chronic pain have multiple issues that add up. We can wish that karma would hit them like a load of lead bricks but sadly that’s not going to help us. I don’t know that there is an answer for us which makes for a very scary future! I would never have believed that having a massage could send one into a full fibro flare, I would hate to think about what yoga would do to my pain level!

  2. Maureen at 6:41 pm

    And once again those of us with diseased and damaged spines will be looked at as the same as those with undamaged spines/basically ‘acute’ yet perhaps continuous low back pain, Those without nerve damage etc …
    It’s Not the same folks,it’s not the same! We are drastically different.

  3. Tim Mason at 4:31 pm

    “It is not an Opioid Crisis but a Heroin Crisis”


    While prescription opioids have degreased heroin use has grown.

    People writing these articles about the Opioid Epidemic fail to distinguish between prescription medications and heroin. The overdoses are linked into one group.
    Not only is this poor reporting it is just bad statistics.
    The CDC and FDA are going after a group of professional pain doctors and accusing them for this so called Epidemic.
    Now we see the illegal morphine being cut with cheap Chinese fentanyl which is now giving fentanyl a bad name.
    No one get a prescription for Heroin at a pharmacy or a trial from a physician.
    Please read the article referenced in the link in this thread.
    There are people out there that know the truth about this fake news and it is doing harm to those of that suffer.
    My goal is to help stop this propaganda machine. This is my hobby. I have a lot of fact and references and want to put something great together but it is no easy task because I still work.

  4. Tim Mason at 11:48 am

    Cathy, The article was from the Anals of Internal Medicine. (no misspelling)
    I will work on something nice.
    There is something for everyone at each stage of his or her chronic illness.
    Their obvious intended audience are those that purchase and wear Lululemons on a daily basis and even shop in them. Not only would ridiculous in a pair of them I would probably be arrested.
    There is a great deal of truth in what you said. Yes-Karma is real.

  5. Cathy M at 9:15 am

    I notice the American College of Physicians updated their guidelines for low back pain. I have to say that the spokesperson doctor was extremely cold about pain - “Dr. Weinstein has a prescription: “What we need to do is to stop medicalizing symptoms,” he said. Pills are not going to make people better and as for other treatments, he said, “yoga and tai chi, all those things are wonderful, but why not just go back to your normal activities?”
    HA! This guy has obviously never felt pain! (Hope karma catches up to him soon). But more discouraging is the actual guidelines and what they are based on - they show a woeful lack of good evidence for anything that they recommend, and also what seems to be mounting evidence that there really is NO effective treatment for chronic low back pain! That is discouraging.
    Read the NYT article here:

    Lower Back Ache? Be Active and Wait It Out, New Guidelines Say

    And here is the study itself - lots of detail, worth reading (probably worth an article - someone?:

  6. Maureen at 8:14 pm

    Tim, thank you for the link! I now feel much less sad that my on/off efforts on over these years have been for naught! 😀 It truly helped me feel that it’s okay that my broken body simply cannot do it anymore nor help me as it did 30 yrs ago!
    I will say I’m jealous of the people in the videos though!
    Loved the funny video too!
    Keep the links coming, you post some great and pertinent info!

  7. Maureen at 7:51 pm

    Hi Jean, as always, very perspectively and well said!
    Wishing you better days this New Year. Maureen

  8. connie at 6:52 pm

    Who wants to spend six hours a day and all our energy on a maybe? I want more in my life than that. I use what little I have to do things like get on and off the bed to put wood in the stove especially when as today it’s fifty below zero. I have to be able to keep warm! I can’t afford the time, energy or money to do yoga or pt all day every day! Besides the fact that my hubby wouldn’t be able to work because he’d have to drive me to town and his shifts at work are from 7 to 7 alternating day and night. I just don’t see it working for most people!

  9. Jean Price at 12:35 pm

    I have, like so many others here, been through every type of physical therapy, chiropractic laser treatments, deep massage, acupressure, acupuncture, myofascial releases, a several month work hardening clinic, years of maintenance exercises, stretches, floor manuvers, machine assisted strengthening, arthritis swim classes in warm pools…all of it. What I’ve found is that all good therapists will say to ONLY exercise or move to the point of pain…then STOP. WELL, ITS SORT OF HARD TO DO THIS FOR MOST OF US! Because our pain exacerbations are brought on by the smallest movements or the fewest repetitions…so we can’t easily gain strength or flexibility, and we end up disillusioned, financially strapped, in EVEN MORE pain…and we stop because we hurt AND WE DONT SEE THE POINT!

    HOWEVER, and it’s a big however, when I was persistent and backed off but didn’t quit, when I spent literally six plus hours a day doing a routine, when I had a team of good therapists who encouraged but didn’t push or bludgeon me to do more than I could tolerate, when I modified all the movements and routines….I DID find that my pain for the most simple acts of daily living WAS decreased…because I was stronger over all by just a bit. AND my body worked in unison a little better. Yet I also hurt more in general after each session. And, Unfortunately…this was my life…all of it! I had no energy for anything else but the physical therapy for months, years on end. And with need for another surgery, I lost the little ground I had achieved. Then, even the pool became an issue because of a separating pubic bone…and I couldn’t walk without stabbing pain in a place not acceptable to hold in public…unless you’re on stage!

    All this being said…what I would say about yoga and all of this…it’s a piece…a part….of what can and does help some people a tiny bit or more…along with other treatment routines, including medication. It’s not likely to ever be all that’s needed, and some people won’t be able to do it…or find it helpful, even with modifying. I think we all are a little resistant to this, in general…I know it took me two years of being unwilling to even try…because I did not know how I could possibly do anything! When yoga or PT is recommended, it can seem like our doctors or others are just copping out…especially NOW, with all the flack about opioids! Yet, they may know…and want us to see…that any bit of recovery is going to take our personal involvement and LOTS OF WORK! FOR A LONG TIME! And this could slow us going down hill more over the years. If we don’t know this is even an option, is that better? I don’t think so! So although I heartily agree yoga or other PT measures are not the end all for most, I do think there’s enough advantage for some to run this type of article and have these discussions.

  10. connie at 10:39 am

    Jon, Someone has read it and wants to send gentle hugs. My heart goes out to you.

  11. Jon Morgan-Parker at 5:47 am

    I’m not sure anyone will even read these words of mine ?
    However , I have been diagnosed as being ” touch sensitive” within the surfaces of my vertebrae .
    Which means that when my disks are somehow swollen or have taken up more fluid. They impact the facet joint.
    Also when the disks are somewhat de-flated , I get the same pain and problems associated with my spine.
    My Dr, here in UK, prescribed Morphine, Tramadol, Gabapentine, Duloxetine. Aswell as other tummy protective drugs .
    There are no cures for my illness and I have been told that there is not a surgeon in the land who will touch me except for localised Injections to ease my pains.
    I am wheelchair bound as I find standing and walking too difficult . I used to be such a fit guy playing rugby , swimming, water polo, athletics etc…
    But it is my Army experiences that keep me going and keep my attitude positive , to make the best of a bad situation…I have to keep going and never give up !
    Maybe in 10 -15 years , there will be a miraculous cure?
    I live in hope. But in the meantime I volunteer to help people understand Computers and the internet. Apply for jobs and sort out their CV’s / resume’s etc…Life is too short to sit and mope and feel sorry for myself…it won’t achieve anything anyway?
    Good luck to you guys who are suffering…my heart goes out to you.

  12. Kathy C at 8:10 pm

    Mr Coghlan,

    Recently I went for a Surgical Consult, he avoided making eye contact, refused to mention my previous Surgeries, and casually told me they would not do surgery for pain. He them referred me to a Chiropractor. It was not just any Chiropractor either, this one has an Insurance Mill. He uses a Chair that has a motor in it to move the spine, it is a virtually useless, treatment. I had seen him years ago out of desperation. I gave him my Imaging thinking that would help my treatment he never even bothered to look at it.

    It is just that I am so tired of this Pseudo Science presented as if it is something new, or helpful. There are a few good practitioners out there, but most are scam artists. I had been to the the day before my first MRI,, there was extensive damage and my leg was atrophied, he ignored all of this and continued to take my money. It is very possible he had made me worse. He should have known the damage was extensive but he did not care.

    People need to be warned about these Alternative Practitioners, I do not have much faith in the regular Medical System either. I live in a town with a lot of these New Age Types, so many are very unethical and have no problem lying to patients about their skill levels or abilities. I have been going to Chiropractors since I was 14, after a sledding accident. That one fixed me, after the Doctor told me I had the flue. I really had a concussion from hitting ice after I flipped a sled doing 50 Miles an Hour. My neck was out of place and he adjusted it, giving me instant relief. I was pretty sick, I could not even keep food down, so on that occasion it helped.

    In most cases all we can really expect form any of these practitioners, is a Placebo effect, or temporary relief. They pretend they can cure these issues. The way this information is presented it is as if they have a cure, they don’t. Modern Medicine has failed us and to make matters even worse, they have stigmatized us. We are now Pill Poppers or drug addicts, we have no credibility anymore. One of the common themes many of these pages is the Gas lighting. They try to give us a mental health label when the pain continues. After 20 plus years of this I realize this was another tactic, to dehumanize us and pretend they “Helped..” Like, so many people my life is over, I had kept up hope thinking they would find something or there would be a cure. There is none. Medical Science has stagnated. My first surgery was done by a butcher, but due to the conspiracy of Silence, they don;t even acknowledge there is a problem.
    Anyway I am questioning all of this. The word “Failed Back Surgery” don;t even exist anymore. They have taken that out of the language. I have tied for years, a Pysiatrist who had the audacity to ask why I was limping. After seeing my Medical records, it was nerve damage. I feel lucky to be able to walk normally but I forced myself through the Pain. I don’t mean to sound pathetic, so many friend and acquaintances are dead due to this dysfunctional medical System so I am a survivor.

    We have slipped into an Orwellian Alternate reality, they will not even mention pain, it is bad for the Industry. Even the Veterans are being Gas Lighted, They don;t even acknowledge that they have pain after significant traumatic injuries. It is bad for recruiting. This is the New Healthcare, if they don;t acknowledge it it doesn’t exist. If anyone has a problem with it, there are a bunch of useless Pharmaceuticals that will make them even worse. People I know have gone through this with Conditions that led to death. They suffered waiting for another appointment where they got the Bums Rush, as the Doctor made them feel ridiculous for bringing up an issue.

    A local Physician bragged about sending Patients with “New Back Pain” to a Napropath. She sent a friend to a Chiropractor. This poor woman spent thousand seeking relief, It turned out she had Kidney Cancer. This Doctor assumed her long time 70 year old Patient was suddenly a drug addict. She ignored the symptoms for 3 years, as this woman went through hell. This is the new Wellness, they don’t count the mistakes, or the adverse Events, they don’t have to. We really only have anecdotal evidence. There is no agency keeping track in a meaningful way. They don’t collect data that the Industry does not like. We can’t even trust Science anymore. The Media runs these Cherry Picked Studies as if the conclusions were facts. We are in the Post fact World.

    I suppose if there is temporary relief, since we don’t have any alternatives, it probably wont hurt us.

  13. Edward F Coghlan at 2:15 pm


    I seldom venture onto the National Pain Report comment section because we believe it is the reader’s place.

    I try to read all the comments that our stories generate (and this one struck a nerve if you’ll pardon the pun) and your reaction has stirred me to respond. We often do stories on alternative therapies-and they often generate reaction like you offered.

    My challenge to you and others critical of these types of stories is your assertion that these therapies don’t work.

    They may not work for you and certainly they don’t work for everyone—nothing does.

    But they work for some-and our job is to continue to offer information to all our readers. Don’t expect these stories to go away.

    Thanks for following the National Pain Report.

  14. Kathy C at 1:48 pm

    They try to present this stuff as a cure all. The people that make a living with these Alternative practices, have no objective way of gauging whether it is helpful or not. If they are charming and persuasive, they make more money. If they are able to manipulate people with guilt, implying it is their fault it isn’t helping, they make more money. They tell themselves they are “helping” people. They throw a little of the “Mind Body Connection” in there to make themselves sound credible. Of course there are some connections, but they don’t mean that a Pain Patient is a failure if they don’t get better. The implication is that there is some reason other than Physical. The Fact is that wishing and a positive attitude don’t make things reality.
    We are in the Post fact world. They re-interpret silly “Studies,” nearly all of them contain a Disclaimer, that more research is need. These “Studies” also mention that they are limited since they only used a certain number of participants. None of this is mentioned when it goes Viral, and become part of the public perception. The “Studies” they mention in Mass Media are the ones that pique Interest, click-bait or an attention grabbing headline. The one about rats springs to mind.
    The one that claimed that rats, become more sensitive to pain, when they are on opiates. This went Viral, repeated countless times, and now people believe that somehow these drugs sensitize people to pain or cause pain. A six month study on tortured rats put Millennia of observations up for question. Suddenly a receptionist or a Politician is an authority on Pain. This is how they manipulate Public Opinion, people are now misguided because they took a pain medication, after a grueling surgery. Up is now down, we have fallen through the rabbit hole.
    We never hear about the injuries or bad experiences, it is a waste of time to complain to any Board. They only exist to perpetuate the Practice, and keep the perception of the business a positive one. They might appear to do something if a really awful incident occurred, but mostly they work on deniability, and Public Perception. Their “Board” only give the appearance of Standards. They don’t want any “Customer feedback” they don’t care. They are oblivious. they believe in their form of pseudo Science, and anything can be turned back on the Clients due to the loose interpretation of the “Mind Body Connection”.
    One would think that Physicians would speak up, instead they are falling for it. They don’t have the answers either. There just hasn’t been any “Research.” The Wellness and Pseudo Science gives them an out. There are Patients they can’t fix. Media does not mention any of this anymore.
    20 years ago local Journalists would do Articles about local healthcare, often the shortcomings. The Community would try to address these issues, since it is important. Everyone has to rely on local healthcare. These subjects are off limits now. Local media advertises, and acts as a Public Relations branch for Healthcare. They only Report the information given to them by the Industry, which maintains a positive Image. the Adverse Events are no longer mentioned, no negatives are mentioned unless they are already spun to present a positive story.
    The occasional Lawsuit is mentioned in a way that paints the Victim as a money seeking leech. They will even mention the Mc Donald’s lawsuit, which is another Myth to further discredit any negative talk or questions. In our local Media an offhand mention of New Age Practitioner means money for them,and credibility. We now have Physicians actively promoting them. It is good way to deny care for those they can’t fix or the “Wallet biopsy” paitents, the ones who are not worth the bother, their Insurance does not pay enough.

  15. connie at 1:47 pm

    ,#2 keeps me out since any movement especially a “new” one can and usually does cause a flare!

  16. Sandra at 9:47 am

    Yoga are you kidding people. Chronic pain clients can not do this what part of this do you not understand. They have pain so much pain you can’t move around without making you scream in pain …Yoga lol

  17. Tim Mason at 12:48 am

    In my opinion Yoga could be considered PT applied by a non professional. It is our duty as individuals to tell even the professional PT of our limits. The professional PT fills out a progression report and reviles these findings to your medical provider. The patient sets his or her limits. If you’ve had physical therapy after a surgery or accident you know has experienced the “Physical Therapy Voice”.
    When we are young our bones are like green branches. when we are old they can snap like dried kindling.

  18. Maureen at 10:04 pm

    @Dr. Langley and Anonymous, Ha! I thought the same about that, also!
    Coincidently, just a few days ago I said to a fellow pain warrior friend…’what ever happened to the days when doctors actually called each other to discuss a common patients’ condition and decide together the proper route of care?!’
    And they used to work ‘together’ on the treatment. They truly cared back then.
    Those days are sadly long long gone.
    I saw my Pain Management doctor yesterday who is leaving the large group that he has been with for a couple of years and going into private practice further away from me 🙁
    I will now have to find my ‘6th’! doctor within 2 yrs. since I moved to Fla…but that’s another story.
    I gave him a Thank YOU card and in it I wrote a Thank You note and why I appreciated him.
    I told him how grateful I am that he always listened well to me, and while looking me in the eye, and didn’t use a computer in front of me, and that that is a rarity these days.
    I asked him to please bring that into his private practice and to never change that about himself.
    This is something I used to take for granted because doctors usually always behaved that way. Another thing shamefully long gone…

  19. Dooney at 8:32 pm

    I use yoga to help with pelvic floor pain, not back pain and it absolutely helps the tightt tugger ppints i.have a CD by Kate Potter that you can do an do a home, some harder than others..only 20.minutes per session just need to do it more and stick with it

  20. Dooney at 8:16 pm

    Absolutely yoga has helped my pain but not back pain but pelvic floor pain with tight trigger points. Afraid to try it again but going to suck it up soon and try because i felt so much better. Ended up with ACNES after another botched surgery where I suffered nerve damage in my pelvis so don’t want to aggravate it bit worth a shot. The CD, has 13 short programmds , so you can do in the comfort of your home. There are some easy ones too.
    Called Namaste by Kate

  21. gerard l becker at 8:10 pm

    yoga????????? why not try alexander, feldenkrais, neurolinguiistic programming, interferential electrical stim, crystal healing,magnet therapy acupuncture, holistic nutritioon, yada yada, yada!!!!!!!!!—-none of which is touched by medicare! But then you could just as easily go on you tube for yoga miracles and back pain, saving a fortune in burial fees!!!!!! Snake oil yes but……..out of desperation we in the low back pain community will pay with our body and souls as well as our wallets for all these beguiling traveling road shows which promise the world and deliver nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Rachael West at 7:16 pm

    Research certainly suggests yoga can help with a range of pain conditions, including fibromyalgia, back pain and arthritis. However there are many forms of yoga (and many experiences of pain) so it’s important each person receives the right kind of instruction.

    Yoga for Pain Care Australia creates resources to help people with pain, yoga teachers and health professionals match students with the right yoga teacher. Here are some tips from those resources:
    1) Yoga practice is most effective if done regularly
    2) It’s very important that you learn to move without getting a pain flare before progressing to postures you find physically or emotionally challenging
    3) If you have had pain for some time be patient with yourself as you teach your nervous system to respond differently to movement and sensations

    Yoga is not for everyone, and yoga was never really intended as a medical treatment. So while pain-sensitive yoga will likely provide general skills that reduce your pain experience, you are more likely to benefit if you enjoy yoga and feel motivated to continue long enough to access all yoga’s benefits.

    If money is a concern, the right teacher can help you develop a home practice.

    We surveyed students who learned yoga with teachers trained by Yoga for Pain Care Australia. They said the pain-sensitive classes reduced pain and in many cases reduced their medication use and frequency of physiotherapy visits. They also said they got better at acceptance, increased confidence and had hope for the future.

    Many people with pain have a terrible first experience of yoga. Often this is simply because they are in the wrong class. To say “yoga” helps with pain is like saying “water helps grow plants”. Water usually helps grow plants - provided it’s offered at the right time, in the right quantity and in the right way.

    Rachael West
    Yoga for Pain Care Australia

  23. I. STL. B. Suffran at 12:01 pm

    All forms of exercise, stretching, or physical therapy has to be based on an individuals direct cause of the pain in the first place. If practicing yoga, exercising, or p.t. is effective and the individual experiences a lowering of their chronic pain, then it is the right thing to do for…..that individual. Granted I have seen amazing recoveries by documented cases of people overcoming a disability and lessening their chronic pain by using different forms of “movement”. As mentioned by Maureen I believe that the age of an individual and their current condition is relative for one to use a movement “exercise” to improve or lessen chronic pain. I, personally, have realized for 20 years after 2 failed surgeries and being placed in the “failed surgery syndrome” category that I felt better and had less overall yet still constant pain if I continued to work. I did not realize this fact because of experimentation but, because I had to survive if I could. Pay for my childrens education, buy food, pay the family electric bill. I realized that the use of opioids AND moderate movement kept me at the lowest level of pain I could achieve withour over medicating. This worked……for me. It has continued to work for me over the years but, I have noticed as I age that it is becoming more painful to even try to work. With the physicans fear of licensure revocation and the CDC “guidline” bullying, no, worse than that, with nazi precision tactics to force the physicians to lower dosage of opioids “across the board”. The “one shoe fits all mentality,” their ability to prescribe just, sufficient……. opioid medication has been exterminated. Guilty until proven innocent? Rational, good people doing exactly what their physicians have prescribed in their individual treatment for chronic pain for decades have been judged guilty of abusing their medication? Guilty of being overprescibed their medication? Guilty of desiring some quality of life? Guilty of existing? We The People still have the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, within the confines of law. I, along with millions of other Americans HAVE NOT broken…..the law. If I would have, I would not have ben able to have been treated with suffiicient medication since my 2 failed surgerie, 20….years…ago. I like millions of other chronic pain patients consented to surgery in the attmept to lessen pain AND keep from being dependent on medication………..from the beginning! A “one shoe fits all” physical exercise program will not work. A “one shoe fits all” opioid prescribed treatment for all non cancer chronic pain patients will not work. We already know these things though. The CDC also knows this. The problem is that they just don’t care. It is the quickest, simplest way to achieve a lower mortality “statistic” across the board. Unfortunately, a statistic that includes illicit opioid users, as well as the opioid users that have arrived at current “medicines” final alternative. It is inhumane to purposely reduce chronic pain patients ONLY means of lessening disabling, physiological and mentally fatiguing never ending pain without ANY other means of effective, sufficient ,treatment even in existence at this time. The CDC claims they wish to educate the chronic pain patients and their physician/clinicians.by “helping” each to really consider the path they choose in the sufficient treatment of their chronic pain Don’t have a issue with the concept, just have a problem with their method. In closing, the reduction of opioid medication “across the board” is not education in chronic pain management. It is punishment . The rain will fall on the flowers as well as on the thorns mentality. .

  24. Anonymous at 11:52 am

    Michael G Langley MD, for a brief moment while reading your post, I was able to imagine a wonderful world of pain care such as you describe, with representatives from all the specialties joining together and actively participating in treating each patient as a unique, individual whole. Ah, Utopia …

  25. connie at 11:34 am

    I guarantee it requires more sessions than anyone on disability can afford! I live in interior Alaska where its unlikely there is anyone trained in the specialized yoga and if there is for me it would me my hubby taking off work to get me there, driving about 30 miles one way in temperatures of 20 to 50 below zero, and causing myself severe pain and exhaustion just to get there!! I don’t know what yoga sessions cost but it is most likely more than I can afford more than once a month. After all that how many sessions before I find it is either working or not working? Isnt yoga similar to chiropactic in that you have to do it several times a week? How do they suggest I do yoga when at my current pain level getting off the bed to go potty is sometimes more than I can do alone? I fear that too many people get these great ideas and dont use all the available information to decide what works and what doesnt.

  26. Kathy C at 11:04 am

    I posted before reading the other Posts here. It even further perturbs me that they would Post this ladies magazine Snake Oil on here. Many of us have already already done it. Since Yoga Instructors are so sketchy most would be unfamiliar with any of these Conditions. Many Yoga instructors believe yoga can fix anything. It is helpful to have that mindset when your financial interests are more important than people. It also help to make the person with Chronic Pain feel lie a failure when it does not work. That is the “Head Game” that keep the money coming in.
    This Psuedo Science nonsense has no place on here. Of course Yoga, or any sensible movement regimen might offer some relief, but it is more a business than anything else. They might even try to gain legitimacy with this nonsense. They refer to the fact that this is a 5000 year old practice, but that is a whole different thing. Like so many other Snake oil things this is not only dangerous, when you have desperate people willing to pay anything for relief, it is also damaging. they always blame the Client for the failure, not the Industry.
    Physicians won’t say anything any more to dispute the ridiculous claims of the New Age Industry, there is plenty of money for all of them. They also do not want to conflict with what might be viewed as “Faith” and it is a unwinnable waste of time. This is truly the End of Science. We are in the Post Fact Era!

  27. connie at 9:34 am

    I would say that yoga could very well help with low back pain that has no apparent cause but for those of us with obvious damage causing the pain it not only is unlikely to help but will actually cause more pain and damage. Making blanket statements such as this is not a good plan!

  28. Michael G Langley, MD at 8:02 am

    What is Yoga? I never practiced Yoga. It helps my daughter with her weight as well a keeping her generally healthy. Thing is, it seems to be just another form of biofeedback. It seems as simple as a muscle relaxation technique that I see as one biofeedback method. It is combined with a spirituality seeking to make one “one with the universe”. Why would it not be beneficial?! By feeding one’s soul, along with muscle relaxation biofeedback, the body is relaxed even more. The spirituality of Christianity can be just as beneficial, as the spirituality of yoga. Stress and tension are known to make life difficult for us with chronic pain. Reactive depression is commonly a daily encounter for us, if I am representative of the population. I am sure my gabapentin helps with that, as well as treating the atypical peripheral neuropathy that I deal with, to some extent, every day.

    I feel this is the reason that “interdisciplinary” practice of medicine could do much better for chronic pain management. Sadly, no one wants to pay for it, when it is properly practiced. It is a program where all specialties actively participate. Those specialties include nutritionists, pharmacists, physical therapists and many other, non-MD, participants. But, the fragmented approach, that most practice, seems to have accomplished very little in improving the treatment of chronic pain patients. Some seem to think it is a practice of multiple specialties being involved in the treatment of the patient. That is not, completely, correct. The only way it is properly practiced is when all specialties are represented by the specialists involved, who actively participate in, organized, personalized meetings to guide the treatment of each individual patients. Those participants must meet to discuss the advantages of all of the specialties actively involved in making the decisions. They must include all of the modalities that are helping, and can potentially benefit, the patient. Without that type of discourse the fragmented specialties do not accomplish what true interdisciplinary treatment can.

    If yoga helps, maybe we need to identify the reasons and make sure those entities are part of a good interdisciplinary pain management, available to the chronic pain patients. They need it to give them a quality of life worth living. But, in the end, I know it is not going to happen. Our medical approach is becoming so expensive that we are going to be finding that money bag, reserved for the treatment of our patients, is not bottomless. What are we to do?

  29. Maureen at 7:58 am

    I can greatly appreciate and believe in Yoga but…
    When I had my first lumbar diskectomy with fusion in 1991 (and have been in constant pain ever since) I eventually went on to do Iyengar Yoga for 10 yrs and I walked 12 miles/weeks.
    I was in my 30’s then, a single mom and had to keep working (nurse) to support my family. I had to find ways to help myself with the pain.
    Yoga was beneficial to my body then and helped to keep me functioning.
    In those days, I was not on any medication.

    Fast forward, at age 50, in 2004/someone slammed into my car speeding and on her cell phone and changed my life forever.
    I became disabled, had 3 more failed spine surgeries, failed spinal stimulator and many many (PT and injections) treatments later.
    About 7 yrs ago…
    I would try gentle yoga now and then but always after just a class or two I would find myself in so much more pain. My body (my back) often felt that it needed to be stretched but stretching would be detrimental.

    I’m now 62 and a year ago I gave it another shot and attempted ‘chair’ yoga.
    I was extra cautious this time around, I had to bring 2 pillows to sit on the hard metal chair (Sitting is painful and I bring pillows everywhere I go), could not do any floor poses and overall I did so-so, initially. Yet, It was great for my head! It lifted my spirits.
    I learned to back-off with some poses. I also have bad shoulders and 3 compressed
    c-spine disks and tried hard not to stir them up too. It was a lot to feel and think about while in each class but I was happy to be there.
    I wanted to strengthen my lumbar and core, I wanted to learn again how to breathe deep into my areas of pain, I wanted to ‘be with people’ since I very seldom am.
    While it was not easy dragging myself off to be there, once I was there…
    I soooo enjoyed the class, and getting out, being with the ‘yoga’ community, feeling
    the calmness in the studio BUT within just 2-3 mths I began to hurt terribly and I had to stop going. I was very disappointed in my body.
    Another loss… and more head ‘stuff’ to deal with again now since the joy of it was stolen away by my painful, dysfunctional body.
    I was then mostly in bed for the next 5 mths. in horrific pain. Life became even harder. I live alone so naturally this disappointment grew into a bigger monster for me.
    Was it the Yoga? Regardless, once again, LESSON LEARNED. I am very fragile.
    I am damaged. I tried but… I feel that I can’t do yoga ever again.

    Thankfully so, the instructor (who is training to be a Yoga Therapist for Chronic Pain) became very interested in me and my condition.
    She had never met anyone in my ‘type of chronic pain’ (she has a lot to learn yet!). She offered a free and different approach for me.
    And since Sept. she now comes to my house once/week, we take a 10 min purposeful walk to oxygenate (I can no longer take long walks) and then I lie down and and she instructs me through an hour of different types of breathing, mudras and meditation.
    Yoga is about healing and her mentor has told her that it could take 3-4 yrs to possibly and truly help someone in my condition.
    For now, we are committed but we are not so sure how long we will keep up with it.
    Is it hopeless for helping my conditions??? One week at a time for now…
    Is it beneficial?? Well, if anything, it is something new for me and I have learned that when I become anxious from increased pain and limitations …I now turn to being still, and breathing long enough to calm me down and sometimes release muscle tension pain.
    Does it always work? NO. Pain rules ‘everything’ no matter what I try.
    All I can do is keeping trying… and keep learning about my pain.
    And if anything, maybe my doctor can tell the government to stop assuming that these organic methods are not necessarily helpful to folks like me!
    Fat chance in that though!
    So, in my opinion, Yoga is most useful to those who do not have extensive, painful conditions and damaged bodies.

  30. JON MORGAN-PARKER at 4:38 am

    Just how many Yoga sessions a week are we talking about here?