Yoga improves back pain in veterans
Veterans who completed a 12 week yoga programme had better scores on a disability questionnaire, improved pain intensity scores, and a decline in opioid use says new research.
A total of 150 veterans with chronic lower back pain were split into groups. One group had 12 weeks of yoga (two 60 minute sessions a week). The others were invited to attend the yoga intervention after six months.
Both study groups had reductions in disability scores after 12 weeks but six months later, scores continued to drop in the yoga group but increased in the delayed-treatment group.
Pain intensity decreased in the yoga group at all three time periods, while the delayed-treatment group had negligible changes.
There was a 20% drop in opioid pain medication use at 12 weeks in both groups. Interestingly, reductions in disability and pain intensity were found despite the reductions in opioid use and other medical and self-help pain treatments.
The study is one of the first to show the effectiveness of yoga in military veterans, a population that faces health challenges and is hard to treat. But the implications are important for other people with back pain; a course of yoga is definitely worth considering.
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