Yoga on the NHS could save over GBP1 billion

Fri, 17 Aug 2012

A team of researchers at the University of York have conducted a clinical comparison between specialist classes and conventional GP care for patients with .

It has been reported that more than 35 million sick days were taken in 2011 as a result of back and neck pains. Back and other muscular pain is reported to cost the National Health Service (NHS) £1.37 billion a year with the whole of the health care sector having to find £2.10 billion to cover sick pay and treatments.

In this latest research, 113 people who experienced chronic or reoccurring back pain half of the participants were assigned to a wait list control group in which they received standard GP care. Participants in the other group participated in specifically developed intended to strengthen and improve back muscles, release tension and help deal with pain.

The yoga group also continued to receive standard GP care which normally could include the prescription of pain killers and referrals to pain clinics or physiotherapy treatments.

Participants in the yoga group participated in a 12-week yoga course that was developed by Alison Trewhela, who is an Iyengar Yoga teacher and Senior Practitioner in Yoga. The course focused on improving joint mobility and strengthening lower back muscles. Additionally, the course included to change the relationship between patient and pain. Relaxation techniques and education about caring for one’s back was also part of the course.

The research concluded that the yoga course significantly improved the management of chronic or reoccurring back pain, improved patient’s confidence and boosted their moral. In addition, the course was deemed cost effective, and there was a significant decline in the number of sick days taken by people in the yoga group which equated to a saving of just over £900 in sick pay.

This research is encouraging as it gives individuals with chronic lower back pain a means of managing their problem and continuing with their lives.

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