If you are suffering from chronic low back pain, yoga may offer some relief. Researchers have found that patients practicing it for three and six months are likely to experience improvements in back-related function and pain.
"We found that the practice of yoga was linked to pain relief and improvement in function," said the study's lead author Lisa Susan Wieland, Assistant Professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine.
"For some patients suffering from chronic non-specific low back pain, yoga may be worth considering as a form of treatment," Wieland noted.
Wieland and her co-authors reviewed 12 separate studies looking at yoga for low back pain.
The trials, which included more than 1,000 participants, compared yoga to a non-exercise intervention, such as educational material given to a patient, or to an exercise intervention such as physical therapy.
Most of the trials used Iyengar, Hatha, or Viniyoga forms of the practice.
At three and six months, patients using yoga had small to moderate improvements in back-related function, as well as small improvements in pain, said the study published online in the journal Cochrane Library.
Yoga was also not associated with serious side effects, the study said.