Yoga Lessens Back Pain and Opioid Use
The researchers divided 150 California veterans with chronic low back pain into two equal groups. One attended two yoga classes per week—comprising postures, movement and breathing techniques—for 12 weeks in addition to their more conventional treatment. The other continued such treatment without yoga. Scientists measured pain levels before and after the core study period and again six months later.
After only 12 weeks, those that participated in the yoga practice experienced a 2.05 point reduction in Roland−Morris Disability Questionnaire scores, compared to a 1.29 reduction for those that received only usual care. After six months, this difference increased, with the yoga group’s scores decreasing 3.37 points compared to only an 0.89 reduction in the usual care group. In addition, pain intensity scores were reduced by 0.61 in the yoga group and 0.04 in the group receiving usual care after 12 weeks.
Opioid medication use declined among all participants, from 20 percent to 8 percent after six months.