MONDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Another study finds that yoga classes can improve back function among people with chronic or recurrent lower back pain.
While the British researchers found that yoga could help people move about and perform tasks, the ancient practice did not appear to reduce back pain itself.
The finding comes on the heels of similar results from a U.S. investigation published last week by University of Washington researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine. That study found that sufferers of chronic lower back pain could get pain relief by participating in either instructor-led yoga classes or stretching classes.
Although last week's study focused on the relief of back pain, as opposed to the improvement of back function, both of the new studies found yoga classes worked better compared to people simply trying to help themselves with a self-help book on easing back pain.
"Our results showed that yoga can provide both short- and long-term benefits to those suffering from chronic or recurrent back pain, without any serious side effects," said study lead author Helen E. Tilbrook, of the University of York's department of health sciences in Heslington, England.
Tilbrook and her team published their findings in the Nov. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers noted that chronic or recurrent back pain is one of the most common ailments driving people to seek health care.
To assess what role yoga might play in alleviating back pain, between 2007 and 2010 the team focused on the experience of just over 300 British back pain patients, most of whom were middle-aged women.
By the time of the study launch, the participants had endured an average 10 years of back pain, the authors noted.
Throughout the study all the participants continued their previous back pain standard of care (which can in
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