Free Download! Yoga for Lifelong Back Health with Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall

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In this free download Dr. Loren Fishman and yoga therapist Ellen Saltonstall, co-authors of Yoga for Osteoporosis and Yoga for Arthritis discuss the use of yoga in the treatment and prevention of back pain.

There are numerous studies on the health effects of yoga, but the effects of yoga on back pain are probably among the best documented. A recent review in the Clinical Journal of Pain looked at the overall effect of ten studies on the effect of yoga for chronic back pain and found consistent improvements across all studies. Another in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Care reviewed seventeen studies involving more than sixteen hundred people with either low back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, kyphosis, or fibromyalgia. Both articles found that, across all the studies reviewed, yoga turned out to have a positive effect on pain and also on the disability that often accompanies these chronic pain conditions.

Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall discuss the different ways in which yoga can affect such a wide range of conditions and, in many cases, offer more effective relief from back pain drugs or physical therapy.

The effects from yoga is possibly greater than is reflected in the results of these studies, because in the case of studies on chronic back pain, the same treatment protocol is applied to many different back pain conditions, explains Dr. Fishman Back pain can result from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, arthritis, terrible kyphosis, spondylolisthesis, and so on, and the type of yoga that will help these different conditions isn’t the same. Nonetheless, in studies consistently show improvements with the application of yoga for back pain.

One of the ways yoga provides relief across so many different types of conditions is that it can help encourage body awareness. Back pain often results from unconscious musculoskeletal patterns that are detrimental to the body. Yoga helps create a deeper awareness of not only your physical activities and how you use your body, but the patterns of your mind that may get mirrored in permanent tension patterns in the body.

There is some evidence that building increased body intelligence may also help enhance overall intelligence, Dr. Fishman says. Studies have shown that yoga increases the thickness of one of the layers of the cerebral cortex, which is correlated with some of the higher brain functions.


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