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Study: Yoga holds benefits for those with back pain

Regardless of your age, back pain can significantly disrupt your life. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back ailments are one of the leading causes for missed work and there could be as many as 31 million Americans experiencing back pain at any given moment.

People spend asmuch as $50 billion on back pain treatment each year, but results of a new study may change the way people address the issue, AARP reports. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people suffering from lower back pain benefited significantly from regular yoga classes.

The study, which was conducted by British scientists, looked at 313 people who were suffering from mid to moderate back pain. Of that group, half were enrolled in weekly yoga classes while the remaining subjects were simply given more information and told to continue down their regular treatment path. After three months, the people who were participating in yoga classes reported that they could perform 30 percent more tasks (ranging from climbing stairs to household chores) than the group that did not partake in these classes.

The findings are certainly encouraging, but experts are quick to point out that while yoga classes may certainly help in the treatment of back pain, it is not a cure.

"The patients seem to have benefited in function, but their pain level didn't change that much," Tim Carey, the director of the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, told AARP. "Whether there is anything special about yoga as opposed to other forms of exercise such as stretching is not clear,"

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of exercises that you can do to help prevent back pain before it starts, most of which are as easy as stretching. For instance, the knee-to-chest stretch simply requires you to lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, pull one knee up to your chest and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg, and then with both.

Whether they're looking to practice yoga or regular stretching, homeowners at Del Webb at Lake Oconee have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center that offers a number of amenities including yoga and pilates classes.

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