L2: How to prescribe them

How to prescribe them

Supervised, individually tailored, high-dose stretching and muscle-strengthening exercise programs with home practice are an effective intervention for those with lower back pain.14 This yoga prescription incorporates these elements as well as those traditionally practiced in Hatha yoga. We encourage you to use the following protocol when prescribing yoga:2,5,15

  • A brief discussion of yoga philosophy (three minutes) 
  • Breathing exercise (pranayama – four minutes) 
  • Relaxation exercise (three minutes) 
  • Yoga postures (asanas)
  • Closing relaxation exercise (savasana – three minutes) 

This protocol allows for variations and various aids (chair, yoga strap, yoga block). A variety of relaxing world music can be played during the classes. 

In the case of an acute episode we recommend that the patient has achieved some level of relief from your other treatment modalities prior to prescribing these exercises. Ideally yoga is performed in a regular group session (four to five participants) and the patient can then practise at home. This may assist the recovery process as group sessions can provide a sense of belonging and increase the availability of emotional and tangible support.13

The exercises can also be prescribed progressively during one-on-one consultations. Follow-up consultations are recommended to assess technique and outcomes. For optimal results they should initially be performed once per day and for longer-term outcomes, at least once per fortnight for a minimum of twelve weeks.1-8

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