Yoga for Chronic Pain

Review: Yoga Offers Effective Treatment for Chronic Pain Conditions

Musculoskeletal conditions (MSCs) are a leading cause of disability and chronic pain in much of the Western world. Common MSCs include back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperkyphosis and fibromyalgia, as well as numerous types of joint repetitive strain injuries.

For those affected, chronic pain resulting from MSCs is a huge issue, impacting both the ability to function as well as psychosocial health. Modern medicine has little to offer by way of treatment other than pain-relieving drugs or expensive, and not always effective, surgery.

According to a recent review of studies, however, yoga may offer an affordable, alternative method for relieving back pain and other types of chronic pain resulting from MSCs.

The study, published in Musculoskeletal Care earlier this year, included a comprehensive review of studies relating to the pain-relieving effects of yoga for chronic pain issues. The review included 17 studies involving a total of 1,626 participants suffering from either back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or hyperkyphosis.

Compiling the results across all studies, the reseachers found that yoga proved to be a safe, relatively low-cost solution for a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions and back problems, including some of the more serious long-term conditions like hyperkyphosis.

Yoga significantly improved pain in those suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and mild-to-severe low back pain. In addition, people suffering from mild-to-moderate low back pain and fibromyalgia improved their functional status and mobility significantly.

One challenge to treating musculoskeletal pain is that the patient’s painful state is often the result of years of bad posture and other health factors; therefore, it’s important to catch signs early on in order to effectively manage pain later down the road.

Unlike medication, yoga actually helps improve the body’s strength and circulation, all at a relatively low cost and without the negative side effects of drugs or surgery.