Chronic non-specific lower back pain, a condition affecting thousands of people, is often treated using over-the-counter medicines that can do more harm than good. But did you know that there are safer and more effective natural treatments available for this condition? Studies have suggested that yoga is an effective way to treat chronic non-specific lower back pain.
To evaluate the effects of yoga on chronic lower back pain, researchers from Cochrane conducted a review of yoga and chronic non-specific lower back pain studies. The studies included in the review involved 1,080 participants aged between 24 and 48 who had chronic non-specific lower back pain. The trials were carried out in various parts of the world, including India, the U.K., and the U.S. The researchers also compared the effects of yoga classes that involve back exercises to non-back exercises.
The findings of the review showed that yoga practice may improve symptoms of lower back pain and enhance back-related function compared to other exercises. The researchers also noted that practicing yoga for three months may reduce pain and practicing it for over six months may improve back-related function.
“Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to reducing the symptoms of lower back pain by a small amount, but the results have come from studies with a short follow-up,” said Susan Wieland, lead author of the study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The researchers concluded that practicing yoga may help reduce pain and improve back function in people with chronic non-specific lower back pain. They added that their findings will help people make better choices about their treatment options in the future. (Related: Treating chronic lower back pain with yoga and physical therapy.)
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Other natural treatments for lower back pain that you may have overlooked
There are many natural treatments for lower back pain. However, some of them, like the following, are often overlooked:
- Release your feel-good hormones: Endorphins, one of the feel-good hormones, can be as effective as any synthetic pain medication. When the body releases these hormones, pain signals are blocked from registering with the brain. They also help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression – all of which are associated with chronic back pain and which often worsen the pain. Aerobic exercise, massage therapy, and meditation are some ways to promote the release of endorphins in the body.
- Get adequate sleep: Although most people with chronic back pain suffer from sleeping problems, the lack of quality sleep also makes the pain worse. Thus, it is important to address sleeping problems, too.
- Use cold therapy: Applying cold compress can help reduce lower back pain. It works by reducing inflammation, which is a common cause of back pain. It also acts as a local anesthetic by decelerating nerve impulses, which prevents the nerves from causing pain and spasms.
- Use heat therapy: Like cold therapy, heat therapy can relieve lower back pain. It works by stimulating blood flow and inhibiting the pain messages being sent to the brain. You can take a hot bath or shower or use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
- Stretch your hamstrings: Tight hamstrings also contribute to lower back pain as they stress the lower back and sacroiliac joints which, in turn, cause more pain. Try to gently stretch your hamstrings at least twice a day to relieve lower back pain.