Written by Ujwal Aluru
“Chronic low back pain is a global health problem, and is one of the most common reasons to visit one’s primary care doctor” . Since chronic lower back pain is a lifestyle disease, current popular methods of treatment, which include surgery, pain-killers, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs have proved ineffective for such a general and common problem. Yoga started as an ancient Indian spiritual practice that stemmed from the religious texts of Hinduism. However, modern yoga has evolved into a healing practice that helps maintain body flexibility and relaxation. “A range of potential benefits has been proposed in relation to the practice of yoga in persistent pain conditions, which include changes in physiological, behavioral and psychological factors” . Practicing yoga not only increases flexibility but also but also reduces muscle cramps and hypertension.
Moreover, it is important to note that chronic lower back pain is more common among the underprivileged. Luckily, yoga is relatively versatile and can be practiced from the convenience of one’s home. Furthermore, yoga is inexpensive to practice since it only requires a mat and it’s easy to learn. Since yoga has become accepted into the Western culture, there has been an abundant amount of material to learn from online. Due to the aforementioned advantages, yoga could be applicable to everyone, but especially beneficial to those who lack financial resources to get medication and surgery. Nevertheless, yoga still has its limitations (specifically anatomical maladies), and is generally a slow method to cure pain because it involves a change in lifestyle. Therefore, partaking in yoga requires an investment in time and effort rather than money. Chronic lower back pain could be caused for a variety of reasons, and yoga is lifestyle change which is an effective treatment if the reasons causing the disease are lifestyle related. However, if the true problem lies in an anatomical reason (i.e. bone spurs), then surgery might be a better suited treatment. Also, it should be noted that there are no strong reliable research methods to prove yoga’s usefulness as a method of treatment for chronic back pain due to the research being based on the subjective scale of improvement. Also, each patient is unique, so it would be nearly impossible for yoga to become a standardized method of treatment for chronic lower back pain.