By Kirsten Macnab

Do you have lower back pain? No problem! Yoga may have the same effects as physical therapy.

Constant back pain can plague your everyday life. Sitting at your desk job for eight hours a day doesn’t help much either.

(Read: Why your desk job is downgrading your health)

Don’t let your back pain get the best of you! We have a solution that can be cheap and effective. And no, it is not physical therapy! A study published in the journal of Annals of Internal Medicine says that yoga may help relieve your lower back pain as well as physical therapy. This will not only save you a couple of bucks but it will also relieve you of a pain that affects all aspects of your life.

300 racially diverse, low-income patients with chronic back pain were selected for this study. The patients were separated into three groups. One group was sent to weekly yoga classes, the other to physical therapy and the last group were given a book and regular newsletters on how to deal with the pain. The yoga class group managed their pain and took fewer painkillers as much as the physical therapy group. Both of these groups had less pain than the education group.

Building a strong core

Yoga generally focuses on posture, movement and controlled breathing. Utilising these skills will target specific muscles and build their strength which will in turn protect you from injury. Yoga especially uses your back muscles and abdominal muscles. A strong core can help manage your back pain and strengthening your back muscles specifically, can help prevent injury and future back pain. Through holding certain yoga positions, you are forced to focus on key muscles in your body which in turn strengthens them.

Stretch your way to better health

Yoga also incorporates stretching and relaxation. Often back pain is caused by stress and by having a few minutes to relax and breathe can help relieve the tension in your back. Stretching out your muscles regularly also loosens them which results in less injury and pain.

Drop kilos

Not only is yoga great for curing back pain, but it can also help you lose weight! Strength training, cardio and yoga 2-3 times a week can help you lose weight and build toned muscle which will help in reaching your fitness potential!

(Read: Yoga helped this guy lose 129kgs!)

Many yoga clinics offer free trial classes (such as Yo Yoga in Cape Town and Yoga Works in Joburg). There are also great free apps that you can download to do your own yoga at home! Try Global Yoga Academy or Down Dog which are both available for free on Android and Apple.

Breathe, stretch and move your way to a pain-free back with yoga!

(Read: Yoga poses for over-weight men)