New research shows yoga is better than over-the-counter painkillers at relieving back pain.
It seems that more and more these days science is proving the beneficial healing powers of therapeutic treatments for your body, versus popping a pill. Now new research published in the journal of the American Medical Association has found that if you’re suffering from back pain, yoga can be just as useful as recognised treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy. What’s more both might be better than simply popping a pill!
The power of mindfulness for pain relief.
Researchers at the Group Health Research Institute got 229 adults, between the age of 20 and 70, to try out two different approaches. Split into two groups, half did weekly sessions of “mindfulness based stress reduction” made up of meditation and yoga. The other half received cognitive behavioural therapy sessions which centred around getting them to change the way they think about pain. Meanwhile a third group of 113 adults carried on with their usual chronic back pain treatment of pain medication like ibuprofen.
After 8 weeks the researchers discovered that both yoga and CBT seemed to be more effective at reducing pain than standard medication. 47 percent of people in the mindfulness group and 52 percent in the cognitive behavioural therapy group said their pain had eased, compared to just 35 percent of people who didn’t change their treatment and stayed on over the counter painkillers.
Best Yoga asanas for back pain
Whether you suffer from back pain or not, a healthy spine and back is vital for a well functioning body. Try these yoga poses, which are especially good for relieving back pains, to destress and ease aching muscles.
- Cat and Cow is a popular warm up posture in many yoga classes as it helps to gently massage the spine whilst stretching the back and torso.
- Seated forward fold, when done properly, really stretches out your lower back. Avoid rounding the spine too much. Instead, keep your spine as straight as possible and lengthen from the torso as you bend forward and down.
- Downward dog is often mistakenly viewed as a calf stretch with too much focus placed on the heels reaching the floor. In reality, this asana is more concerned with stretching out the upper back and broadening the shoulders.
- Spinal twists come in varying intensities so you can always find one to suit your needs and body. Whilst spinal twists activate muscles and stimulate blood flow, which can be an effective relief for lower back pain, remember to avoid over twisting.
- Child’s pose is a wonderfully soothing back stretch that also allows the whole body to relax and release tension. For extra added pain relief, team with focused deep breathing.
- Cobra is a great way to strengthen your back and bum. The stronger your back is, the less prone to pulls and strains you will be.