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Study: Yoga the best prescription for some lower back pain - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Study: Yoga the best prescription for some lower back pain

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BOSTON -

Millions of Americans suffer with chronic lower back pain.  Now new research finds yoga can be the best prescription for some patients.

Judith Zaborowski is taking a class at Samamkaya Yoga in New York City. "I apparently have a spine that is covered with arthritis," Zaborowski said.

The 74 year-old says the practice helps ease her back pain.  "I'm much more comfortable with movement," she said.

Now a new study from Boston Medical Center backs that up. Researchers looked at more than 300 low-income patients with chronic lower back pain. Some took yoga classes designed for back pain once a week, others did physical therapy.

"We found the yoga was as effective as physical therapy for reducing pain intensity, improving people's physical function, and perhaps most importantly reducing pain medication use," said the Center's Dr. Rob Saper, the study's author.

Instructor Debby Green says yoga cultivates balance in the body, which can relieve back pain. "Different kinds of poses, as well as -- we use tractioning -- using our equipment," Green said. "To help people to free up where they're not moving well, or where they can't move, where they are caught, where there's compression, so that then they can learn to move without that."

Carol Shapiro has scoliosis and has suffered with back pain for much of her life. "When you're in severe pain -- I'm really not one for medication -- it is truly debilitating," Shapiro said. She says yoga has allowed her to be much more mobile. "I feel really strong, powerful, connected."

Movements these students say are helping them -- physically and mentally.

Researchers say based on this study, they hope more doctors will recommend yoga to treat chronic back pain. 
 

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