Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not yoga is effective in improving functional disability in adults with chronic low back pain.

STUDY DESIGN: This review consists of two randomized controlled trials published in 2009 and 2011 and one pilot randomized controlled trial published in 2010.

DATA SOURCES: Data sources were articles published in peer reviewed journals comparing yoga for the treatment of chronic low back pain compared to standard medical care found in PubMed and MEDLINE.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Each of the three articles analyzed the effects of yoga therapy on improving functional disability. The Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire and the Oswestry Disability Index were the ways the outcomes were measured.

RESULTS: Williams et al found yoga improved functional disability in adults with chronic low back pain. Tilbrook et al found that yoga resulted in greater improvements in back function. Cox et al found that yoga improved functional disability and pain, however the findings were not significantly different from standard care.

CONCLUSIONS: Two of the three reviewed trials concluded that yoga is a safe and effective alternative to improving functional disability in chronic LBP compared to standard medical care. The third study was inconclusive as it found yoga does improve functional disability; however the results were not statistically significant. Future studies should include ways to better increase response rate and adherence to yoga therapy and evaluate more objective outcomes to reduce errors in self reporting.