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Research: yoga & pain

65% of patients with depression come to the doctor with physical symptoms with pain being the most common. Yoga has shown to improve symptoms of depression including pain.

65% of patients with depression come to the doctor with physical symptoms with pain being the most common 

Studies have shown yoga can improve symptoms of depression including pain:

Patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) participating in a 7 day intensive yoga program experienced:

  • 47% reduction in pain 
  • 20% reduction in anxiety
  • 47% reduction in depression 
  • improved spinal mobility (Tekur)

Patients with mild CLBP participating in a 16 week yoga therapy program reported improvement in pain:

  • 64% reduction in pain intensity 
  • 77% reduced functional disability 
  • 88% reduction in pain medication usage  (Williams)


The Principles and Practice of Yoga and Healthcare ~ Sat Bir Singh Khalsa
Yoga for Depression ~Amy Weintraub
Yoga as Medicine ~Timothy McCall MD
Yoga Rx ~Larry Payne PhD & Dr Richard Usatine


Ward L, et al. Yoga for functional ability, pain and psychosocial outcomes in musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Care. 2013;11(4):203–217.
Wren AA et al. Yoga for Persistent Pain: New Findings and Directions for an Ancient Practice. Pain. 2011 Mar; 152(3): 477–480.
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN Cramer H et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain. Clin J Pain. 2013;29(5):450–460
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAINTekur P, Nagarathna R et al. A comprehensive yoga programs improves painanxiety & depression in chronic low back pain patients more than exercise: an RCT. Complement Ther Med. 2012 Jun;20(3):107-18.
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN Tilbrook HE et al. Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2011;155(9):569–578
CHRONIC LOW BACK PAINWilliams KA. Effect of Iyengar yoga therapy for chronic low back pain. Pain. 2005 May;115 (1-2):107-17.
MIGRAINE John PJ, Sharma N, Sharma CM, et al. Effectiveness of yoga therapy in the treatment of migraine without aura: a RCT. Headache. 2007;47(5):654–661.

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