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Yoga and Low Back Pain: Dr. Patel Examines the Research

If you’re like millions of people in the world, then you probably suffer, or have suffered, from lower back pain (LBP) at some point. On top of being uncomfortable for the patient, LBP is the costliest work disability in the United States, and it can lead to missed work, depression, restless sleep and debt due to treatment costs.

Dr. Chetan Patel and his multidisciplinary team at the Spine Health Institute believe in not only finding the cause of back pain, but also improving the way that modern medicine treats spinal conditions, such as introducing alternative treatments to existing treatment plans. In pursuit of this goal, Dr. Patel recently partnered with other medical specialists to systematically review the results of a number of randomized, controlled trials where yoga was used as a method for treating patients with LBP. They were able to conclude that overall, yoga intervention can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life with the added potential to reduce stress, depression, medication usage and the likelihood of disability.

As with any form of exercise, it is important to talk to your doctor about specific postures that are best for your condition. Here are a few ways that you can incorporate basic aspects of yoga into your everyday lifestyle:

1. Start and end each day with stretching.

The physical part of yoga focuses on holding postures that help stretch and lengthen your muscles. Read our previous blog for a few yoga poses that will can help reduce LBP and increase your energy.

2. Practice breathing.

Breathing is another very important part of yoga that aims to reduce stress and anxiety, and clear your mind. Controlled breathing can help relax your muscles and allow you to focus on the tasks at hand. Take the time to inhale slowly and exhale slowly through your nose for a few rounds of breath. You can turn this breathing into a meditation by closing your eyes and letting your mind wander and relax. You’ll be amazed by how rejuvenated you feel after simply slowing down and allowing oxygen to flow through your body. 

3.  Eat a balanced diet.

The food you consume has a drastic effect on your spine health. Foods that are high in sodium, fat and sugar can cause inflammation in the body, and can result in back pain and injury. Watch our SpineU video for a few ways that you can incorporate healthy habits into your everyday lifestyle. 

The goal of yoga in healthcare – similar to Florida Hospital’s own philosophy of care – is to heal and strengthen the mind, body and spirit. Partnered with regular supervision from your doctor, yoga can help release the tense muscles that are causing back pain, while strengthening and lengthening your muscles to prevent future injuries from occurring. By combining these postures with a diet that has a high concentration of foods with anti-inflammatory properties and practicing breathing techniques to help you relax and de-stress, you will be well on your way to a pain-free, lower-stress lifestyle.

 

References:

http://www.thespinehealthinstitute.com/wellness/yoga-pilates-tai-chi/how-yoga-helps-back

Alison M. Diaz, B., Morey J. Kolber, P., Chetan K. Patel, M., Patrick S. Pabian, P. D., Carey E. Rothschild, P. D., & and William J. Hanney, P. D. (2013). The Efficacy of Yoga as an Intervention for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 13.