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The YOGA Protocol: How YOGA Helps With Back Pain

If pain medicine is no longer what you want, yoga is a good possible alternative.

Recent research finds that compared to physical therapy, yoga is found to be just as or more effective and safe for easing the pain.

Boston Medical Center created the yoga protocol, with the input from top yoga teachers, therapists, and doctors.

The yoga protocol is a class. During it, trained instructors guide the attendees through very gentle poses such as child’s pose, triangle pose, and cat-cow. Difficult poses are avoided. The classes focus on easy-on-the-body poses and relaxation methods.

The class transcript and guidebook can be found online for free. If you search for ‘Back to Health’, you’ll find it in a jiffy.

Findings of the protocol, which were published earlier in 2017 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that yoga is in line with new guidelines for treating back pain, reported by the American College of Physicians. The piece recommends users to avoid pain medicine when dealing with back pain, and instead opt for natural cures such as tai chi, body massages, and yoga.

The study covered 320 diverse individuals in predominantly low-income participants in the Boston, MA area. They all suffered from chronic lower back pain. The study lasted 365 days.

Each participant was assigned a group, 3 in total. One group was assigned 15 Physical Therapy visits. Another was assigned to weekly yoga classes for 12 weeks. The third group received educational books and newsletters. While the yoga and PT lasted a short time, the rest of the year the participants were assigned to at-home sessions.

By assessing the patient’s results with a 23 line questionnaire, they found that yoga and PT patients had about the same amount of improvement in back pain symptoms. Additionally, when the study began, about 70% of the participants were taking pain meds. After the 12 week sessions, that number dropped down to 50%. In the third group, by comparison, there was no drop in pain drug usage.

The findings of this study could pave the way for insurance companies to widely accept yoga as a substitute to physical therapy, and lean less on pain meds.

This comes at a time where prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high. Natural health advocates will continue to fight for yoga, as well as other unique methods, to take the place of pain medicine. The most difficult part is spreading the word.

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