The PGIMER Chandigarh Study on Yoga and Chronic Lower Back Pain

In today’s sedentary lifestyle, characterized by prolonged sitting, poor posture, and excessive screen time, low back pain has become increasingly prevalent, affecting individuals of all ages. However, a pioneering study conducted by PGIMER, Chandigarh, sheds light on a practical and holistic approach to managing chronic lower back pain—yoga. The study, led by Dr. Babita Ghai, demonstrates the remarkable benefits of yoga in reducing pain, improving functionality, and enhancing overall quality of life for patients suffering from this debilitating condition.

The study involved a randomized trial where patients were divided into two groups: the control group receiving conventional treatment and the yoga group receiving Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) in addition to standard care. The results revealed that the yoga group exhibited a significant reduction in pain, disability index, fear of movement, and improvement in stress and depression associated with pain. Notably, 42 percent of patients in the yoga group could discontinue pain medication entirely—a testament to the effectiveness of yoga as a complementary therapy.

Yoga therapy addresses chronic low back pain’s physical and psychological components. Yoga combines asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), yoga promotes flexibility, strength, and relaxation, alleviating pain and enhancing overall well-being. Specific asanas such as Bhujangasana, Setubandhasana, and Salabhasana target the back, abdomen, and pelvis muscles, improving core stability, posture, and movement patterns.

The rise in low back pain among individuals under 25 is attributed to factors such as obesity, prolonged phone use, and sedentary behavior. Dr. Ghai emphasizes the holistic benefits of yoga for this demographic, addressing physical discomfort and mental stress. Yoga serves as a preventive measure and a therapeutic intervention, empowering young individuals to take control of their health and well-being.

The findings of the PGI Chandigarh study underscore the potential of yoga as a safe, accessible, and cost-effective therapy for managing chronic low back pain. By integrating yoga into conventional treatment approaches, healthcare practitioners can offer patients a comprehensive solution that addresses the root causes of their condition and fosters long-term recovery. As we continue to navigate the challenges of modern living, embracing yoga as a therapeutic tool holds promise in promoting a healthier, pain-free society.