The many benefits of yoga were known only to the people who practiced it until the last fifty years. During this time substantial research has been done to show hwo yoga benefits various conditons.
Back pain and spinal injury research
Here are some research conclusions that show the efficacy of yoga and meditation on back pain and spinal injury:
- In 2015 a study done by Branch, et al, in Chandigarh, India at the Panjanb University’s Department of Psychology showed that MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) was quite effective at relieving the severity of pain and improving the quality of life of the female patients in the study who had nonspecific chronic low back pain.
- Another 2015 study by Dunleavy and cohorts that was done to ascertain the efficacy of Pilates and yoga exercises in a group in relieving chronic neck pain found that Pilates and yoga exercises in a group with modifications decreased disability and pain for this group.
- A 2014 study by Fishman, Groessl and Sherman dealt with the effects of yoga on idiopathic and degenerative scoliosis. The study found that disproportionately strengthening the convex side of the primary scoliosis curve using the side plank pose daily held as long as the participants could possibly hold it, when done over an extended period of 6.8 months considerably reduced the primary scoliotic curves.
- Lee, Moon and Kin did a 2014 study to determine what effect yoga had on the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and on serotonin in women with chronic low back pain who were premenopausal. They found that yoga offers a significant influence on brain-derived neurotrophic factor and serotonin levels in patients with chronic low back pain. Both brain-derived neurotrophic factor and serotonin are associated with a lessening of pain.
- Sylvain Grenier at Laurentian University in Canada compared static stretching and to determine which was more effective for hip and shoulder range of motion and found that yoga had a greater effect on range of motion in those areas.
- In 02013 Ward, Stebbings, Cherkin, and Baxter reviewed research papers in a large database to find studies that dealt with yoga and musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, kyphosis and fibromyalgia. They found that yoga improved pain and functional outcome of the majority of those involved in the studies.
- In 2013 Cramer et al followed up on a study involving people with chronic neck pain who did yoga for 9 weeks. In their 12-month follow up they determined that the pain reducing effects of the yoga were still in effect for all of the participants, but more so with the ones who had continued with the yoga.
- Saper et al in 2013 compared the effects of once weekly yoga sessions versus twice weekly yoga sessions in relieving chronic lower back pain and found that both were equally effective.
The five yoga poses that are touted as being most effective for reducing lower back pain are: the supine Hamstring Stretch, the Two-Knee Twist, the Sphinx, the Pigeon combine with Thread the Needle, and Legs Up the Wall.