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Yoga Improves Balance, Eases Back Pain in Parkinson Disease

October 09, 2019

After a 12-week yoga intervention, people with Parkinson disease experienced improvement in balance and low-back pain, according to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 

Yoga is known to benefit balance, low-back pain, and anxiety in healthy adults. Researchers conducted this investigation, which was part of a larger intervention study, to investigate whether yoga yielded similar benefits in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Thirteen people with Parkinson’s disease participated in a twice-weekly yoga intervention over 12 weeks, and 13 people with Parkinson’s disease who went about their usual routines served as control subjects. Participants received evaluations gauging balance, low-back pain, and anxiety at the start and end of the study period.

Although both the intervention group and the control group showed improvement on the Balance Evaluation Systems Test total score at the end of the study, the control group showed no change in individual balance system scores. In contrast, the yoga group improved in several individual balance system section scores: stability limits/verticality, transitions/anticipatory, reactive, and sensory orientation. Scores on the Revised Oswestry Disability Index also decreased among participants in the yoga group, according to the study, but not in the control group.

Beck Anxiety Inventory scores, however, did not improve for either group. 

“Yoga is a nonpharmacological intervention that can improve balance and low-back pain in people with Parkinson’s disease,” researchers wrote. “This study demonstrated that yoga is feasible for people with Parkinson’s disease, and participants reported high levels of enjoyment and intent to practice yoga after the study.” 

Jolynn Tumolo


Myers PS, Harrison EC, Rawson KS, et al. Yoga improves balance and low-back pain, but not anxiety, in people with Parkinson's disease [published online October 4, 2019]. Int J Yoga Therap. doi: 10.17761/2020-D-18-00028

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