The Efficacy of Yoga as an Intervention for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Alison M. Diaz, Morey J. Kolber, Chetan K. Patel, Patrick S. Pabian, Carey E. Rothschild, William J. Hanney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is common and has a tremendous economic impact. With the prevalence and incidence of low back pain (LBP) on the rise, individuals often seek alternative treatments. Yoga is a widely used complementary and alternative medicine treatment for LBP. However, its efficacy as an intervention for LBP has not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore the purpose of this study was to systematically review the current literature for randomized controlled trials that assess the outcomes of Yoga as an intervention for individuals with cLBP. An electronic database search was performed for studies related to the efficacy of yoga in treatment for cLBP. Studies included were randomized control trials, published in English, from a peer-reviewed journal that identified yoga as the primary treatment focus for LBP in at least one group and included participants with at least a 12-week (3-month) history of symptoms. Our search revealed 185 articles. Of these, 10 met the inclusion criteria. We concluded Yoga intervention appears to be an efficacious intervention in alleviating cLBP. Yoga was demonstrated to significantly improve quality of life and reduce disability, stress, depression, and medication usage associated with cLBP in 8 of the 10 analyzed trials when compared with usual care, self-care book, or exercises. However, more research is necessary before recommendations can be made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-430
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • complimentary alternative medicine
  • complimentary medicine
  • exercise
  • mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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