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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 658030, 13 pages
Research Article

Comparing Once- versus Twice-Weekly Yoga Classes for Chronic Low Back Pain in Predominantly Low Income Minorities: A Randomized Dosing Trial

1Department of Family Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, 1 Boston Medical Center Place, Dowling 5 South, Boston, MA 02118, USA
2Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02118, USA
3Group Health Research Institute, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA 98112, USA
4Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

Received 25 February 2013; Accepted 9 May 2013

Academic Editor: David Baxter

Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Saper et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Previous studies have demonstrated that once-weekly yoga classes are effective for chronic low back pain (cLBP) in white adults with high socioeconomic status. The comparative effectiveness of twice-weekly classes and generalizability to racially diverse low income populations are unknown. Methods. We conducted a 12-week randomized, parallel-group, dosing trial for 95 adults recruited from an urban safety-net hospital and five community health centers comparing once-weekly ( ) versus twice-weekly ( ) standardized yoga classes supplemented by home practice. Primary outcomes were change from baseline to 12 weeks in pain (11-point scale) and back-related function (23-point modified Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire). Results. 82% of participants were nonwhite; 77% had annual household incomes <$40,000. The sample’s baseline mean pain intensity [6.9 (SD 1.6)] and function [13.7 (SD 5.0)] reflected moderate to severe back pain and impairment. Pain and back-related function improved within both groups ( ). However, there were no differences between once-weekly and twice-weekly groups for pain reduction [ (95% CI , ) versus −2.4 (95% CI , ), ] or back-related function [ (95% CI , ) versus −4.9 (95% CI , ), ]. Conclusions. Twelve weeks of once-weekly or twice-weekly yoga classes were similarly effective for predominantly low income minority adults with moderate to severe chronic low back pain. This trial is registered with NCT01761617.