This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of three distinct interventions – Yoga, Naturopathy, and Conventional medical management – in alleviating pain, reducing disability, enhancing spinal mobility, and improving the quality of life in individuals with low back pain. Ninety participants were recruited and randomly divided into three groups.

  • The first group (group 1) received Yoga,
  • the second group (group 2) received Naturopathy treatments,
  • the third group served as the control and received conventional medications.

Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Flexion Test-Finger to Floor Test (FTFT) results, and Quality of Life (QOL) were assessed at baseline and after a 10-day intervention period for all groups.

Overall comparisons between the groups, utilizing ANOVA, revealed marked differences in pain severity, disability index, daily functional capacity, and Quality of Life (QoL) improvements following respective interventions. Substantial improvements were also noted within the yoga and naturopathic medicine groups across multiple variables.

The authors concluded that the results of this comparative analysis emphasize the effectiveness of Yoga, Naturopathy, and Conventional Medical Treatment in managing low back pain. All three interventions demonstrated significant improvements in pain intensity, disability, spinal mobility, and quality of life. This study contributes valuable insights into the diverse therapeutic approaches for low back pain management, highlighting the potential of holistic and alternative treatments to enhance patients’ well-being.


This is a remarkably poor study. Its flaws are too numerous to account for them all here. Let me focus on just a three that stand out.

  1. All we learn about the 3 treatment regimen is this (and it clearly not enough to do an independent replication of this trial):

Yoga Group:

Participants in the Yoga Group underwent a specifically designed integrated approach of Yoga therapy (IAYT) for back pain, incorporating relaxation techniques, spinal movements, breathing exercises, pranayama, and deep relaxation techniques. The intervention was conducted by qualified yoga instructors at SDM College of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences.

Naturopathy Group:

Participants in the Naturopathy Group received neutral spinal baths and partial massages. The spinal bath was administered at Government Yoga & Nature Cure Out Patient Center, Puttur, and massages were performed by trained naturopathy therapists.

Conventional Medicine Group:

Participants in the Conventional Medicine Group received standard medical treatments for low back pain as recommended by orthopedic physicians from S.D.M Medical College, Dharward

  1. As an equivalence trial, the sample size of this study is far too small. This means that its findings are most likely caused by coincidence and not by the interventions applied.
  2. There was no attempt of blinding the patients. Therefore, the results – if they were otherwise trustworthy – would be dominated by expectations and not by the effects of the treatments.

Altogether, this study is, I think, a good example for the fact that

poor research often is worse than no research at all.

6 Responses to The Effects of Yoga, Naturopathy, and Conventional Medical Treatment in Managing Low Back Pain

  • I would be interested in the Conventional Medicine group – my experience of any Ortho is if they can they will offer a surgical solution. If they cannot get away with the damage/surgical narrative they fob off to physio which in UK NHS is just a bunch of non-specific exercises. The people in this group are most likely to complain that their back pain does not improve!

  • “poor research often is worse than no research at all“

    Spot on Edzard. It’s too easy for people to “do their own research” by latching on to the first article they find that confirms their pre-existing view with little regard for the quality of said research and how it fits it within the literature as a whole.

  • This 10-day comparative study of the three interventions claiming equal efficacy of Yoga and Naturopathy to the conventional medication has high significance. Continued use of the conventional pain management medications from NSAIDs to Cox-inhibitors to steroids are infamous for steady increase in the dose to get the initial improvement, adding adverse side effects of varied nature. Yoga and Naturopathy on the other hand benefits the patient in the long run preventing unwanted drugging of the human body. Hope more research is done in this area. Thanks.

  • When I took statistics in college, the instructor stated that a group of 20 subject was enough for statistical significance. But here you are saying that 30 isn’t sufficient. I have a hard time thinking that your claim is credible.

    • My advice: 1) try to get back your tuition fees; 2) read up about statistics and sample size calculation.
      You are welcome!

    • In addition to Edzard’s advice, my advice is to damned well read the paper before you “have a hard time thinking that your claim is credible” regarding sample sizes:

      QUOTE [my emphasis]

      Further research with extended follow-up periods and larger sample sizes is warranted to explore the sustained effects of these interventions.

      Sindhu S, Karthick S, Selvakumar K, Shivaprasad K & Sridevi S.
      A Comparative Study of the Effects of Yoga, Naturopathy, and Conventional Medical Treatment in Managing Low Back Pain.
      Sch J App Med Sci, 2023 Aug 11(8): 1446-1452.
      DOI: 10.36347/sjams.2023.v11i08.010

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