MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New research finds yoga can be the best prescription for millions of Americans suffering from chronic lower back pain.
Judith Zaborowski attends yoga class at Samamkaya Yoga in New York City.
"I apparently have a spine that is covered with arthritis," said Zaborowski.
The 74-year-old says the practice helps ease her back pain.
"I'm much more comfortable with movement," said Zaborowski.
Now a new study from Boston Medical Center backs that up. Researchers looked at more than 300 low-income patients with chronic lower back pain. Some took yoga classes designed for back pain once a week while others did physical therapy.
"We found the yoga was as effective as physical therapy for reducing pain intensity, improving people's physical function, and perhaps most importantly reducing pain medication use," said study author Dr. Rob Saper.
Instructor Debby Green said yoga cultivates balance in the body, which can relieve back pain.
"We have the equipment and we use it and it's really helpful, but you could do it without equipment and yes everybody can do it," said Debby Green with the Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective.
Carol Shapiro has scoliosis and has suffered with back pain for much of her life.
"When you're in severe pain – I'm really not one for medication, it is truly debilitating," said Shapiro.
She said yoga has allowed her to be much more mobile.
"I feel really strong powerful, connected," said Shapiro.
It's movements students say are helping them physically and mentally.
Researchers say based on this study, they hope more doctors will recommend yoga to treat chronic back pain.
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