Research: GALANTINO and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 113


GALANTINO and co-workers, Program in Physical Therapy, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, USA, have carried out a pilot study on the effect of Hatha yoga on chronic low back pain.


The aim of this randomized pilot study was to evaluate a possible design for a 6-week modified Hatha yoga protocol for participants with chronic low back pain.


22 participants between the ages of 30 and 65 with chronic low back pain were randomized to either a yoga based intervention, or to waiting list. METHODS: A specific low-back pain yoga protocol designed and modified for this population by a certified yoga instructor was administered for one hour twice weekly for 6 weeks. Primary outcome measures included the forward reach (FR) and sit and reach (SR) tests, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) questionnaires. The data were analyzed using chi-square to examine differences between the groups.


Potentially important trends showed improved balance and flexibility and decreased disability and depression for the yoga group. Significant limitations included a high dropout rate in the control group and large baseline differences in the secondary measures. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed the following frequency of responses (1) group intervention motivated the participants and (2) yoga fostered relaxation and new awareness/learning.


A modified yoga-based intervention may benefit individuals with chronic low back pain, but a larger study is necessary to provide definitive evidence. The impact on depression and disability seems an important outcome for further study.


Galantino ML, Bzdewka TM, Eissler-Russo JL, Holbrook ML, Mogck EP, Geigle P, Farrar JT. The impact of modified Hatha yoga on chronic low back pain: a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine 10 (2): 56-59, Mar-Apr 2004.

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