Home » Articles » Yoga Therapy – a cost-effective method of treating back pain

Yoga Therapy – a cost-effective method of treating back pain

Yoga for healthy back jpg

According to the largest study published in the journal “Spine”, specialized yoga class called “Yoga for a healthy back” will be cost-effective not only for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, but also for society as a whole.

The concept of Yoga is of ancient origin. First yoga originated in India centuries ago, nowadays becoming extremely popular. Those who regularly practice yoga say that it helps to gain not only the physical perfection, but also to achieve great results in the strengthening of the spirit.
Yoga science helps a person to control multiple sources of life:

  • the source of diet;
  • the source of physical health;
  • the source of sleep;
  • the source of breathing;
  • the source of relaxation;
  • the source of positive life attitude.

Nowadays there are many kinds of yoga, but all of them are based on three types of exercises:

  • Breathing – Pranayama;
  • Physical – Asana;
  • Meditation.

The person, having mastered these exercises, can gain for himself an extraordinary body benefits. Given the long-term studies conducted in India, America, Europe, Australia, you can list more than 40 therapeutic effects of yoga on the human body. The main ones are:

  • improving the functioning of the nervous system;
  • improved flexibility;
  • strengthening the muscles;
  • strengthening the immune system;
  • correcting posture;
  • strengthening joints;
  • lowering blood pressure;
  • strengthening the spine and intervertebral discs as a whole;
  • removing involuntary muscle spasms;
  • improving the work of the digestive system;
  • increase control over his own body and his mobility;
  • strengthening psychological health;
  • weight loss;
  • leads to a healthy lifestyle.

However, there are other important facts. Systematic visits to yoga classes not only help to boost immunity, improve overall health, reduce back pain and joint pain, but also make rational use of material resources. It’s well-known that prevention of diseases of the spine and other vital systems are more cost-effective than continued long-term treatment. This hypothesis has also been confirmed experimentally. Scientists have developed a special 12 – week program of yoga therapy, the results of which were compared with the intervention of the general practitioner.

The experiment was conducted in the UK. Its goal was to determine the feasibility and economic benefits of yoga, if these lessons are paid from the funds of the National Health Service (NHS).

After the big examination the researchers concluded that yoga will be cost-effective if the value of the costs is 300GBP and less for the patient.
Also, in the course of this experiment, the researchers found that patients who participated in the program group yoga, missed fewer days of work due to health than participants in the control group who were under the supervision of an ordinary physician. This marked the significant difference in financial losses. The expenditures for the group, which was under the supervision of a general practitioner was 1,202 GBP per person, and for the members of a group of a yoga programme – just 374GBP per person.

Professor David Torgerson, Director of York Trials Unit, in the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, said: “Back pain represents a significant burden to the NHS in the UK and to society as a whole. As well as the associated health care costs, it is also a major cause of work absenteeism which leads to a productivity loss to society.

“While yoga has been shown as an effective intervention for treating chronic and low back pain, until now there has been little evidence on its cost effectiveness. In our study we evaluated a specially-designed yoga class package by using individual-level data from a multi-centred randomized controlled trial. On the basis of the 12-month trial, we conclude that 12 weekly group classes of specialised yoga are likely to provide a cost-effective intervention for the treatment of patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain.”

Back pain is estimated to cost the NHS £1.37 billion and the health care sector £2.10 billion a year. It is also one of the most common conditions treated in primary care in the UK with about 2.6 million people seeking advice from their GP about back pain each year.

Professor Alan Silman, Medical Director of Arthritis Research UK, said: “We welcome the fact that not only has yoga been found to help people manage their back pain, but  that it is also cost effective, and results in fewer sick days. It is another option for people who are struggling to manage their condition, and one that encourages the move to self-management.  Yoga is an intervention that has been proven to make their everyday lives easier and their pain more manageable.”

“We’d hope that on the back of this, more people with back pain are encouraged to take up the yoga programme.”

The trial involved two groups of people who were identified as having chronic or recurrent back pain. A group of 156 people were offered group yoga classes specially designed to improve back function, while a second control group of 157 people received GP care alone.

Those in the first group having complaints about the condition of the spine and regularly examined by GP, received either medication or were sent to various treatments in physiotherapy.

And for the second group the yoga teachers have developed a series of effective exercises. Patients in this group for 12 weeks were doing the exercises for the development of all muscle groups, including the strengthening of the muscular system and increasing the flexibility of the spine.

After conducting this experiment Alison Trewhela said: “GPs and commissioners are showing great interest in this yoga programme. Many consider it could be the primary treatment option because it offers long-term positive outcomes, as well as a multi-disciplinary combination of taught skills that suits the bio-psycho-social nature of the condition of chronic low back pain.

“Within its confidence-boosting, gradually-progressing environment, the gentle ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ course addresses joint mobility, muscle-strengthening, emphasis on the breath, mental attitude to pain and perspective on life lessons, postural awareness and low back education, relaxation techniques, and advice about other potentially health-giving techniques and benefits.”

Alison concluded: “On basis of the results of the study practice of yoga can be recommended for those suffering from back pain. Many are showing great interest in yoga programs, as they believe that it can become the main method of prevention, as it offers a long-term positive results that not only help alleviate the condition of patients with chronic back pain, but also improve the psycho- social adaptation of people. ”

So modern person, having mastered the yoga exercises, can independently control his/her emotional background, stress resistance, develop self-confidence, strengthen the spine and muscular system to regulate the weight and obtain much more benefits for health and the spirit.

paris-236x300Author: Lola Lhamo, Himalayan Hatha & Kriya Yoga Teacher


The University of York’s Department of Health Sciences Study Results

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *