How Does Yoga Help Manage Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a common experience and can be a debilitating condition for many people.

The most common causes are often age related degenerationtraumatic disc injury and arthritis. Exercise is often recommended as a strategy for managing the pain associated with these conditions. Yoga in particular Is recommended as an effective exercise technique for the management of lower back pain but when looked at specifically in regard to efficacy has shown mixed results in various studies some saying that yoga is an effective therapy and others saying no.

So is there a definitive answer? In a recent study published in the medical journal PAIN July 28, 2021 a meta-analysis was performed using 30 articles on 27 individual studies comprising 2702 participants in total. The results of this study was that short and long term improvements were found for pain related disability, mental health and physical functioning. The authors reported in conclusion that yoga showed robust short and long term benefits in the management of lower back pain when compared to non-exercise controls.

According to Gregory Montalbano, MD, iOrtho surgeon and faculty member NYU School of Medicine, “The findings in this study were not surprising to me. Lower back pain related to disc degeneration and arthritis occurs in almost every person as they get older. Exercises are not all equal, and depending on the predispositions of an individual for disease an exercise routine may need to be modified to address these conditions.

Yoga is geared toward the engagement of the spine and core musculature. It improves spinal flexibility, core strength and improves blood flow through those tissues. Aerobic activity is good for general cardiovascular health but is not going to improve spinal conditioning very much.

The message is not to give up aerobic exercise but especially if you are prone to lower back pain or have a family history of lower back problems think about adding yoga or pilates exercises to the routine. I will also caution that just because you may have felt good the first 20 years of your adult life as for instance, a runner, doesn’t mean that is going to be true for the next 20 years if you don’t modify your lifestyle and exercise routine as your body changes.”

Learn more about iOrtho online at

Related Posts