Why Doctors Are Recommending Yoga for Lower Back Pain Over Opioids

We all know that the addiction to opioids like morphine and pain relievers, is a serious global problem harming the health of many individuals.

In the U.S., the total amount of prescriptions for opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone increased from 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013.

This greater availability is a massive problem, and the finger has largely been pointed at doctors. Why? Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains:

The fact is, we have accepted the tall tales and Pollyannaish promises of what these medications could do for too long. As a community, we weren’t skeptical enough. We didn’t ask enough questions. We accepted flimsy scientific data as gospel and preached it to our patients in a chamber that echoed loudly for decades.

Even worse, too many doctors who didn’t actually believe the hyperbole surrounding opioids doled out long-term prescriptions regardless, in the same way doctors write antibiotic prescriptions for viral illnesses. In both cases, they don’t work. In both cases, they can cause colossal harm.

So, if doctors have led us into this mess, it only makes sense that they help lead us out. And now, news is showing a glimpse of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

The vast majority of American adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives, and the most common treatments of this contition seem to be with opioid. But a major organization is out to change that by recommending that doctors treat the pain in a new way.

Since opioids have such a high risk for addiction, the (ACP) American College of Physicians listed several guidelines that urge doctors to step away from medications as the first-line therapy for lower back pain, and instead strongly suggest patients take advantage of alternative therapies such as yoga, heat, exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy, low-level laser therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, or spinal manipulation under the guidance of a medical professional, all before they try medication. Such guidelines mark a significant departure from the organization’s previous recommendation to prioritize medications.

However, Santhosh Thomas, D.O., MD of the Center for Spine Health at the Cleveland Clinic, says that yoga in particular can be incredibly beneficial for healing lower back pain thanks to its ability to improve core strength and flexibility. “These things are often lacking in people with chronic pain,” he says.

A common misconception regarding chronic lower back pain is that you should lie down to heal the pain, but research shows that exercise, including yoga, can be one of the best tools for easing the pain and getting back to a healthy state.

Source and References: self.com