Lower Back pain


Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

Score a victory for a natural, alternative treatment for chronic back pain (including the removal of the symptoms of lower back pain, which can be particularly painful). A new, well-designed study appearing in the September issue of Spine shows that practicing yoga causes those dealing with chronic back pain to report less discomfort and depression after six months.

Back pain is one of the most common of complaints, and is thought to affect 8 out of 10 of us at some point during our lives.

The pain can be a dull, lingering ache or a sudden, sharp, take-your-breath-away stab of agony.

Your doctor considers back pain to be chronic if it lasts for more than three months.

Acute back pain comes on suddenly and only lasts a few days to at most a couple of weeks before fading away. While over the counter pain relievers and resting are usually enough, if you're still dealing with pain after three days, or the pain level is severe, you really should seek medical attention.

"Proponents of yoga have long described its benefits in reducing back pain," explains researcher Kimberly Williams, Ph.D. "But not everybody was convinced. This is a much bigger, much more rigorous evaluation than had been done before."

The research team from West Virginia University randomly assigned 90 subjects, aged 23 to 66 years old, who had mild to moderate disability as a result of back pain into two treatment groups.

One group performed 90-minute sessions of lyengar yoga two times a week for six months; the other group just kept doing whatever therapy they had been using.

Certified lyengar instructors conducted the yoga classes. Lyengar yoga is a very popular form of hatha yoga that's known to build strength, flexibility and balance by using a series of poses.

At both the three and six month marks, a greater portion of the subjects who did the yoga reported improvements in both pain and functioning. This was measured by questionnaires that covered pain levels, difficulty performing tasks and medications taken. The participants in this group also reported fewer symptoms of depression.

"The yoga group had less pain, less functional disability and less depression, compared with the control group," concludes study author Kimberly Williams, a research assistant professor in the department of community medicine at West Virginia University. "These were statistically significant and clinically important changes that were maintained six months after the intervention."

The study confirms earlier work about the benefits of yoga for conditions as different as menopause and osteoarthritis, as well as improving mood in those with breast cancer.

There are many things that cause pain in the lower back - a herniated disk or arthritis. What's worse, lower back pain can cause all kinds of trouble - and people usually stop exercising because of the discomfort or the fear of making things worse. The lack of exercise can cause the muscles of the back to be weakened, and this causes even more pain.

This type of lower back pain represents between 20-25% of medical claims and exceeds $34 billion in annual direct medical costs according to the background information provided as part of the study.

Exercises like yoga help reverse this muscle weakness by making the muscles of the mid section strong. This includes the muscles like the back extensors, abdominal and gluteus - these are all key to stabilizing the trunk and cutting the load on the spine. What's more, yoga offers spiritual and psychological benefits that come from the meditation and deep breathing.

Combining the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual is a holistic approach to healing that is increasingly popular for health and well -being.

If you, or someone you love, is dealing with the symptoms of lower back pain, or chronic back pain, consider lyengar yoga as a way to manage the constant pain, improving your ability to carry put activities and giving you the means to take back your life.

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