I wonder if that big sack of toys ever sets off Santa’s back…

I had a conversation with a patient recently who has had a few episodes of low back pain, and wondered what to do about it. This patient drives a sleigh for a living and didn’t want to take an oral pain medication or “muscle relaxer” on a regular basis, and wondered if there are other things that could be done.

(Okay, just kidding about the sleigh!)

After a careful neuro-muscular exam, we discussed the many different treatment options that exist for this challenging problem besides oral medications. Today I thought I’d share two recent studies that highlight 2 of those options. The first looked at both yoga and traditional stretching and the second at yoga alone, and each compared these modalities to a more conventional approach. In the first both yoga and more traditional stretching resulted in less pain and better function. In the second, the yoga group of patients had significant improvements in function at the end of a 12 week period.

So, if you or a loved one struggle with chronic recurrent back pain, try to incorporate a regular stretching regimen (yoga or traditional) into your daily routine. Or maybe Santa will leave a gift certificate for a yoga session under the tree this year!

Exercise, Yoga

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