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Yoga could be a viable tool for reducing back pain

Yoga is a common exercise that is suitable for people of all ages due to its low-impact technique. While many family caregivers might perform the exercise to help lower their stress levels and avoid caregiver burnout , including an aging loved one in their routine might help him or her feel better, and may even help cut back on the use of pain medication. 

A new study, conducted by scientists from Boston University's School of Medicine and published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found yoga helped seniors alleviate some lower back pain. Scientists interested in whether yoga classes could be a most cost-efficient pain medication for low-income patients.

What the trials found
For 12 weeks, 95 adults suffering from moderate-to-severe lower back pain were placed in two groups. The first attended yoga classes once a week, while the second group practiced yoga twice a week. Although not mandatory, both groups were encouraged to do the poses and different techniques at home in between weekly sessions. 

Following the 12 week trials, researchers sat down with all participants to gauge if and how much yoga helped reduce their lower back pain. They found both groups experienced similar decreases in pain, both of which was "substantial." In fact, the majority of all seniors involved admitted they were able to cut back on the amount of pain medication they took following the workout. 

More surprisingly, there was minimal difference in the benefits people in the once-a-week and twice-a-week groups experienced, meaning just one yoga class a week could hold powerful pain-relief results.

Cheaper and more holistic pain relief
Dr. Robert Saper, lead author of the study, believes the findings could offer seniors or low-income patients a better, more affordable way to ease their chronic pain.

"Given the similar improvement seen in once weekly yoga classes, and that once a week is more convenient and less expensive, we recommend patients suffering from lower back pain who want to pursue yoga attend a weekly therapeutic yoga class," Saper said.

Yoga, as well as tai chi and aquatic exercises, have been found to be some of the best workouts geared especially toward seniors. According to The Atlantic, tai chi may help keep arteries flexible and less stiff, while also boosting muscle strength and easing symptoms of depression. On the same note, water aerobics is a suitable and beneficial for arthritis patients, as it puts little to no strain on achy joints.