Yoga People

Yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain also improves sleep

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Low back pain is pain in the lumbar vertebrae, located in the lower back. While physical activity is known to prevent back pain from showing up for a long time and / or coming back, researchers have shown that practicing yoga for several weeks not only relieves affected patients but also improves their sleep, a disorder that likely they will suffer in parallel.

Yoga is a discipline of the body and mind considered as an art of life that is based on the practice of asanas (postures) and pranayama (discipline of breathing). And it's not just celebrities like Gisèle Bündchen, Jessica Alba or Cara Delevingne who practice it, millions of people practice it at least once a year. Among the most mentioned motivations, the desire to evacuate stress, maintain your body and stay in good health.

A new study published by Boston Medical Center confirms its benefits for two everyday ailments: sleep and back pain.

Published in the Journal of General Internal, the study finds that yoga and other physical therapy practices are effective approaches to treating sleep disorders and chronic back pain while reducing the need for medications. The researchers started from the observation that sleep disorders and insomnia are common in people with chronic low back pain (when low back pain lasts for more than 3 months or 12 weeks).

Previous research has shown that 59% of the people who suffer from it had poor quality of sleep and 53% were diagnosed with insomnia.

"Non-pharmacological approaches should be considered"

Then you need specific support. "Medications for sleep and back pain can have serious side effects, and the risk of opioid-related overdose and death increases with the use of sleeping pills," say the study authors. Identifying holistic methods to treat these conditions could help reduce dependence on these medications, as well as make patients safer and more comfortable. The randomized controlled trial included 320 adults with chronic low back pain. At the beginning of the study, it was found that more than 90% of the affected participants also suffered from bad sleep.

Participants were assigned to one of three treatments: physical therapy, weekly yoga, or reading educational materials. Improvements were compared over a 12 week intervention period and after one year of follow-up. Turns out, after six weeks of treatment, the volunteers reported a reduction in back pain by around 30% on average. Additionally, affected participants were three and a half times more likely to experience improved sleep after 12 weeks of full treatment, confirming that pain and sleep are closely related and this improvement did not decrease after treatment.

"The high prevalence of sleep problems in adults with chronic low back pain can have adverse effects on overall health and well-being. This really emphasizes the need for healthcare providers to ask chronic low back pain patients about quality of their sleep. Given the serious risks associated with the combination of pain relievers and sleeping pills, non-drug approaches should be considered for these patients, "they conclude.

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