Yoga and sports therapy help against chronic low back pain
They do the sun salutation, the dog, the cobra and the warrior, daily and worldwide: yoga is booming. According to the BDY, the professional association of yoga teachers, millions of Germans stretch, strengthen and breathe regularly. And science is diligently investigating how effective the ancient Indian healing method is. Yoga is one of the best-studied methods of complementary medicine. A Pubmed search for the keyword yoga alone yields around 6,000 hits.
But yoga is not only fun. Millions of yogis practise yoga to combat stress, depression, migraines, sleep, blood pressure, joint and muscle problems. Yoga is also popular against back pain. The smallest movements first get the spine moving again. Then the torso and abdominal muscles are strengthened and the pelvis is straightened. In addition, the art of movement increases blood circulation so that the muscles warm up. Muscle tension and the pressure on the small vertebral joints are released.
Yoga has also proven to be an effective therapy for chronic low back pain. However, it has long been disputed how effective yoga is, both in terms of time and in comparison to other physiotherapeutic exercises. A recent meta-analysis now confirms that yoga - similar to sports and physiotherapeutic exercises - can reduce pain more effectively after four to eight weeks than no exercise. Yoga can even significantly improve physical function over twelve months. The literature search included a total of 18 high-quality studies.
So for people with chronic low back pain, it's time to get on the mat, either for yoga or with a sports therapist. In yoga, both the classic Hatha yoga and Iyengar yoga, which is very physical and places great emphasis on standing postures, are permitted. People with back pain should be cautious with those variations that focus on brisk movements and involve a lot of jumping - such as power yoga or asthanga. These forms of yoga are only suitable when the back muscles are already strong.