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August 2013

Yoga May Improve Chronic Neck Pain

A recent study suggests weekly yoga classes, combined with short daily home practice, may improve chronic neck pain.

Yoga is an ancient method of exercise and relaxation. Yoga is practiced by many as a way to achieve fitness and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In previous studies, yoga has shown effectiveness in the management of musculoskeletal disorders, including low back pain, osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Researchers designed this study to evaluate the effectiveness of yoga compared to a home-based exercise regimen for neck pain. Participants included men and women 19-60 years-old with chronic neck pain. Patients with neck pain due to specific causes were excluded.

Each participant was assigned to either a weekly yoga course or an exercise program focused on neck-pain relief. The yoga group met weekly for 90 minutes of instruction, then practiced for ten minutes daily at home. Pain scores, quality of life and range of motion were evaluated at the end of the nine-week study period.

The results showed a significant difference after nine weeks in the group participating in yoga classes. Compared to the exercise group, people doing yoga had lower pain intensity scores. People in the yoga group also had increased range of motion and reported quality of life improvements.

The authors concluded that yoga may be a promising intervention for patients experiencing chronic neck pain. Further study is needed to confirm these findings and to assess long-term effectiveness.

Other integrative therapies that may be beneficial for neck pain include acupuncture, chiropractic care and hydrotherapy. Current evidence regarding these treatments is unclear. More studies are necessary.

For more information about yoga, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Cramer H, Lauche R, Hohmann C, et al. Randomized-controlled trial comparing yoga and home-based exercise for chronic neck pain. Clin J Pain. 2013 Mar;29(3):216-23. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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