Results of a new NCCIH-funded study show yoga and physical therapy offer similar pain-relief and functional benefits to people with low socioeconomic status who had chronic low-back pain. These improvements were greater than self-education; however, they were not considered significant. These findings suggest that a structured yoga program may be an alternative to physical therapy for people with chronic low-back pain, depending on individual preferences, availability, and cost.
The year-long study, which enrolled racially diverse adults with low socioeconomic status, was conducted at Boston University and included researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, the University of Washington, and the RAND Corporation. It was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.