Yoga reduces chronic lower back pain and tai chi relieves acute pain

About 80% of people experience lower back pain throughout their lives, especially in old age. The most common causes of pain are osteochondrosis and intervertebral hernia. Medicines are used to relieve the pain syndrome, but with prolonged use they lead to many side effects. Among alternative methods to reduce pain are physical exercise.

Researchers from the University of Florida have meta-analyzed 32 studies on the effectiveness of practices such as yoga, tai chi and qigong in reducing lower back pain. All practices involve not only doing physical exercise, but also increasing awareness and strengthening the connection between the brain and body.

Thus, when practicing tai chi (exercises based on Chinese martial arts, including quiet exercises and stretching), the development of attentiveness is very important. Qigong is a Chinese meditative motor health gymnastics aimed at awareness of the body and developing attention while performing slow and smooth repetitive movements. 

About 3.5 thousand patients aged 33 to 73 years participated in the research, the results of which were analyzed by scientists from Florida. Most of the publications were devoted to yoga classes: they showed that this practice helps to significantly reduce the intensity of chronic back pain, but with regular and prolonged training.

At the same time, tai chi has proven to be more effective in relieving acute pain, especially in men under 40 years of age. There were only three studies devoted to such practices as qigong - according to experts, this is not enough to draw conclusions about its effectiveness. 

Also, practically all the analyzed publications reported that all three practices allow not only to get rid of back pain, but also have a positive effect on the psychological state of patients. Lower back pain, especially chronic pain, is often accompanied by depression. Yoga, tai chi and qigong classes reduce depression, reduce anxiety, promote a positive mood and increase work capacity. 

Feb. 7, 2020, 11:55 a.m.

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