Yoga can provide more effective treatment for chronic lower back pain than more conventional methods, according to the UK's largest ever study into the benefits of yoga. The study, led by the University of York and funded by Arthritis Research UK, found that people offered a specially-designed 12-week yoga programme experienced greater improvements in back function and more confidence in performing everyday tasks than those offered conventional forms of GP care. The research focused on back function - people's ability to undertake activities without being limited by back pain, which was measured using the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. Although improvements in back function were more pronounced at three months, researchers found there was still an improvement in people's ability to perform tasks such as walking more quickly, getting dressed without help or standing up for longer periods of time even nine months after the classes had finished.
Over Long Term, Yoga Trumps Usual Care for Improving Back Function in Patients Suffering from Low Back Pain In the largest and longest study of its kind published to date, more than 300 patients were followed for one year. Chronic or recurrent back pain cost the U.S. health care system billions of dollars each year, and is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor. Researchers conducted a trial to determine whether offering a 12-week yoga program to adults with chronic or recurrent low back pain could improve back function better than usual care (back pain education booklet and continuation of treatments patients were already receiving). More than 300 participants were randomly assigned to either a 12-session, 3-month yoga program (n = 156) or usual care (n = 157). Patients reported back function at 3, 6, and 12 months by filling out the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) that rated symptoms such as function and pain on a scale of 0 (best) to 24 (worst).
A new study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS) found that patients with herniated lumbar disc symptoms were significantly worse if the patients had symptoms for more than six months prior to treatment, compared to those who had symptoms for six months or less. Symptoms included pain, function, general health, work status and patient satisfaction. "Patients often ask their physicians whether the duration of their symptoms will affect their potential for a full recovery, and the goal of our study was to address this question, " said orthopaedic surgeon Jeffrey A. Rihn, MD, and one of the study authors. Several studies conducted over the past 30 years have demonstrated the effectiveness of lumbar discectomy. One of the most common spinal surgical procedures, lumbar discectomy involves the removal of the herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal canal to treat lumbar disc herniation.
New research from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation may help explain why people with spinal cord injury (SCI) have a higher risk of developing heart disease. Damage to the autonomic nervous system is a key predictor of cardiovascular risk, researcher Rianne Ravensbergen told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Heart disease after a SCI is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in this population. It is well known that regular exercise is beneficial for cardiovascular health. However, for people with SCI, says Ravensbergen, a PhD candidate supervised by Dr. Victoria Claydon in the cardiovascular physiology laboratory at Simon Fraser University, exercise is only part of the story.
Yoga classes were linked to better back-related function and diminished symptoms from chronic low back pain in the largest U.S. randomized controlled trial of yoga to date, published by the Archives of Internal Medicine as an "Online First" article on October 24. But so were intensive stretching classes. "We found yoga classes more effective than a self-care book - but no more effective than stretching classes, " said study leader Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute. Back-related function was better and symptoms were diminished with yoga at 12 weeks; and clinically important benefits, including less use of pain medications, lasted at least six months for both yoga and stretching, with thorough follow-up of more than nine in 10 participants.