An evidence map of yoga for low back pain

A.P. Goode, R.R. Coeytaux, J. McDuffie, W. Duan-Porter, P. Sharma, H. Mennella, A. Nagi, Jr. Williams J.W.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: Yoga is being increasingly studied as a treatment strategy for a variety of different clinical conditions, including low back pain (LBP). We set out to conduct an evidence map of yoga for the treatment, prevention and recurrence of acute or chronic low back pain (cLBP). Methods: We searched Medline, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database and for randomized controlled trials (RCT), systematic reviews or planned studies on the treatment or prevention of acute back pain or cLBP. Two independent reviewers screened papers for inclusion, extracted data and assessed the quality of included studies. Results: Three eligible systematic reviews were identified that included 10 RCTs (n = 956) that evaluated yoga for non-specific cLBP. We did not identify additional RCTs beyond those included in the systematic reviews. Our search of identified one small (n = 10) unpublished trial and one large (n = 320) planned clinical trial. The most recent good quality systematic review indicated significant effects for short- and long-term pain reduction (n = 6 trials; standardized mean difference [SMD] -0.48; 95% CI, -0.65 to -0.31; I2 = 0% and n = 5; SMD -0.33; 95% CI, -0.59 to -0.07; I2 = 48%, respectively). Long-term effects for back specific disability were also identified (n = 5; SMD -0.35; 95% CI, -0.55 to -0.15; I2 = 20%). No studies were identified evaluating yoga for prevention or treatment of acute LBP. Conclusion: Evidence suggests benefit of yoga in midlife adults with non-specific cLBP for short- and long-term pain and back-specific disability, but the effects of yoga for health-related quality of life, well- being and acute LBP are uncertain. Without additional studies, further systematic reviews are unlikely to be informative. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-177
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Cited By :6

Export Date: 26 December 2018


Correspondence Address: Goode, A.P.; Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, 2200 West Main Street, United States; email:

Funding details: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA

Funding details: Office of Research and Development, ORD

Funding text 1: This report is based on research conducted by the Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Center located at the Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC, funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Quality Enhancement Research Initiative. The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s) who are responsible for its contents; the findings and conclusions do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government. Therefore, no statement in this article should be construed as an official position of the Department of Veterans Affairs. No investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement (e.g., employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties) that conflict with material presented in the report. Appendix A


  • Evidence mapping
  • Low back pain
  • Yoga
  • Cochrane Library
  • data analysis
  • data extraction
  • disability
  • Embase
  • human
  • information retrieval
  • low back pain
  • Medline
  • quality of life
  • recurrent disease
  • Review
  • systematic review
  • yoga
  • evidence based practice
  • female
  • male
  • meta analysis
  • middle aged
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


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