If You Have Back Pain, Bed Rest May Not Be Best

Although bed rest seems appealing when you have low back pain, you may get better relief if you stretch into a yoga position, suggests new research.

More than 200 adults with moderate but long-lasting low-back pain participated in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers created three groups: one group took yoga classes, a second group did stretching exercises led by a physical therapist, and a third group received a self-care book with exercise and lifestyle advice.

Although researchers thought the mind-body techniques might give the yoga group a greater advantage, that wasn’t the case. After three months, the stretching and yoga groups had similar rates of improvement, reducing their pain medications and improving their back functioning, compared with the by-the-book group. And after six months, the active participants saw even greater improvement.