Viniyoga for Low Back Pain: New Study Results Released

By Robin Lilly | 04/12/2017 |

Karen Sherman’s first randomized controlled trial (RCT) investigating the effectiveness of yoga for low back pain was published in 2005 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Her initial study was met by high enthusiasm among Viniyoga teachers and therapists as well as the broader yoga community.

Recently, results from Sherman’s second, larger study using the same study design have been released (Archives of Internal Medicine, December, 2011). In new study, Sherman compared the effectiveness of a 12 week group Viniyoga intervention, a Physical Therapist designed stretching program of similar intensity and a self-care booklet in 226 subjects with moderate level, uncomplicated low back pain. Subjects in both the stretching and Viniyoga groups reported reduced medication use and improved functioning when compared to the subjects who received the self- care booklet.

Sherman reports “we found that physical activity involving stretching, regardless of whether it is achieved using yoga or more conventional exercises has moderate benefits in individuals with moderately impairing low back pain.” Further analyses of the data are planned to examine the mechanisms (physical, mental and emotional) through which Viniyoga influences chronic low back pain.

Are you interested in learning more about how to use research results in your Yoga Therapy practice? Would you like to know how to explain yoga research findings to clients and colleagues? Clare Collins will be offering a 2012 Webinar titled “Viniyoga for Low Back Pain: How Evidence-Based is Our Practice?” For more information about this spring continuing education offering, contact

Karen J. Sherman; Daniel C. Cherkin; Robert D. Wellman; Andrea J. Cook; Rene J. Hawkes; Kristin Delaney; Richard A. Deyo
A Randomized Trial Comparing Yoga, Stretching, and a Self-care Book for Chronic Low Back Pain
Arch Intern Med, Dec 12/26, 2011; 171: 2019 – 2026.