Another group at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that Yoga helps reduce incidence of disability, while lowering pain in patients with osteoarthritis (2). A similar study in young adults suffering from rheumatoid arthritis has indicated that Iyengar yoga helped patients, not only with pain management, but also depression and self-efficacy (3).
A study carried out in Seattle attempted to compare the effect of traditional exercise, yoga and self-care literature on back pain and function. Although the study claims that yoga was more efficient and persistent in pain management and functional improvement, the premise of the study does not fully compare varied routines and exercises (4). Most studies indicating the benefit of yoga on back and joint pain also do not provide the mechanisms, however the reduction of inflammation by yoga is seen as a key potential contributor to these improvements.
One point that does become immensely clear through these studies is that compliance to yoga as a patient is considerably high. A number of the asana/mudras/postures that benefit joints and the back are not particularly strenuous, yet manage to deliver real benefits.
How does this affect you?
A large majority of people spend most of their days sitting, particularly in a bureau. Assess for yourself if your posture is leading to back or joint pain. Consider improving your sitting posture by referring to the poster below.