Low back pain, 80% of the adult population will experience it sooner or later. To treat this back pain, which can cause irritability, insomnia, anxiety and movement problems, we usually resort to drugs, self-medication and in some cases even surgery. Sometimes it is advised, however, to practice activities such as yoga or tai chi, disciplines that combine exercises for the body and the mind in order to work on every aspect that could cause low back pain. But do yoga and tai chi really work in this case? It seems so, as reported by a scientific research published a few months ago in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice and performed by a team from Florida Atlantic University's College for Design and Social Inquiry in collaboration with Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing (Park et al, Holistic Nursing Practice, Feb 2020).
The researchers focused on three mind-body activities, namely yoga and tai chi, which combine simple exercises, stretching and awareness of the here and now, and qigong, a Chinese meditation technique that focuses on attention and concentration while fluid and repetitive movements are performed. The aim was to understand if yoga, tai chi and qigong can have a beneficial effect in case of back pain. For this, the health conditions and habits of nearly 3500 people, aged between 33 and 73, were analyzed. What emerged was that yoga was found to be able to alleviate back pain, but with a long-term action. In particular, long and frequent yoga sessions have shown a beneficial effect. Tai chi, on the other hand, was effective in reducing the acute episode of low back pain, especially in young people, by alleviating pain and improving movements. As for qigong, scientists have not been able to establish its effectiveness in case of back pain.
Therefore, yoga and tai chi are disciplines that not only help to counteract stress but also have important benefits on the body, helping to counteract low back pain, which is often an obstacle to performing activities and movements in everyday life.