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Papers of the Week

2019 Sep

J Altern Complement Med



Effectiveness of Hatha Yoga Versus Conventional Therapeutic Exercises for Chronic Nonspecific Low-Back Pain.


Neyaz O, Sumila L, Nanda S, Wadhwa S
J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Sep; 25(9):938-945.
PMID: 31347920.


To determine whether the effectiveness of Hatha yoga therapy is comparable to conventional therapeutic exercises (CTEs) for reducing back pain intensity and back-related dysfunction in patients with chronic nonspecific low-back pain (CNLBP). The study was a prospective randomized comparative trial, divided into two phases: an initial 6-weekly supervised intervention period followed by a 6-week follow-up period. This study was conducted at Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research of a tertiary care hospital. Patients between 18 and 55 years of age with complaint of CNLBP persisting ≥12 weeks with pain rating ≥4 on a numerical rating scale (0-10). A total of six standardized 35-min weekly Hatha yoga sessions (yoga group) and similarly 35-min weekly sessions of CTEs (CTE group), designed for people with CNLBP unaccustomed to structured yoga or CTE program. Participants were asked to practice on nonclass days at home. The primary outcome measures were Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale (DVPRS) (0-10) and 24-point Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ). Secondary outcomes were pain medication usage per week and a postintervention Perceived recovery (Likert seven-point scale) of back-related dysfunction. Outcomes were recorded at the baseline, 6-week follow-up, and 12-week follow-up. Seventy subjects were randomized to either yoga ( = 35) or CTE group ( = 35). Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat, with last observation carried forward. Both yoga and the CTE group have shown significant improvement in back pain intensity and back-related dysfunction within both the groups at 6- and 12-week follow-ups compared to baseline. No statistically significant differences in the pain intensity (DVPRS; at 6 weeks:  = 35, difference of medians 1.0, 95% confidence interval [-5.3 to 3.0],  = 0.5; at 12 weeks:  = 35, 0.0 [-4.2 to 5.0], 0.7) and back-related dysfunction (RDQ; at 6 weeks:  = 35, 1.0 [-9.6 to 10.6], 0.4; at 12 weeks:  = 35, 0.0 [-8.8 to 10.6], 0.3) were noted between two groups. Improvements in pill consumption and perceived recovery were also comparable between the groups. Yoga provided similar improvement compared with CTEs, in patients with CNLBP.