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Yoga Research > Disease and Disorders > Musculoskeletal Conditions

Musculoskeletal Conditions back pain, neck pain, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatic conditions, fractures, etc.


Musculoskeletal Health

Below is a list of citations of research articles published in peer-reviewed biomedical journals relevant to the topic on this page. There are two types of citations:

  1. Citations for review, summary, and scientific/clinical hypothesis papers that summarize and analyze the yoga research in this specific area; these are the best resource for becoming familiar with the literature;
  2. Citations of individual study publications that are notable from a historical, scientific, mechanistic, clinical, sociological, epidemiological, philosophical, and/or policy aspect.

Links for many of these citations will take you to the full-text of the publication. Otherwise, in the case of publications copyrighted by the journal, links will take you to abstracts of the publications, and you then can acquire the full text articles by purchasing them directly from the journal, by obtaining free access through a medical library that subscribes to the journal, or by directly requesting them from the corresponding author via email.

Review Papers

Review Papers

Yoga for Osteoarthritis: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Lauche R, Hunter DJ, Adams J, Cramer H.
Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2019 Jul 23;21(9):47.
[ abstract ]

Yoga as an intervention to manage multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Thakur P, Mohammad A, Rastogi YR, Saini RV, Saini AK.
J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2019 Jun 24. pii: S0975-9476(18)30923-9.
[ abstract ]

Are Mindful Exercises Safe and Beneficial for Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.
Zou L, Zhang Y, Yang L, Loprinzi PD, Yeung AS, Kong J, Chen KW, Song W, Xiao T, Li H.
J Clin Med. 2019 May 8;8(5). pii: E628.
[ full text ]

The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.
Sivaramakrishnan D, Fitzsimons C, Kelly P, Ludwig K, Mutrie N, Saunders DH, Baker G.
Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2019 Apr 5;16(1):33.
[ full text ]

The effect of exercise, yoga and physiotherapy on the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Alphonsus KB, Su Y, D'Arcy C.
Complement Ther Med. 2019 Apr;43:188-195.
[ abstract ]

Yoga's Biophysiological Effects on Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms: A Scoping Review.
Sha K, Palmer MH, Yeo S.
J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Mar;25(3):279-287.
[ abstract ]

Yoga for treating urinary incontinence in women.
Wieland LS, Shrestha N, Lassi ZS, Panda S, Chiaramonte D, Skoetz N.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Feb 28;2:CD012668.
[ abstract ]

Effects of yoga on patients with chronic nonspecific neck pain: A PRISMA systematic review and meta-analysis.
Li Y, Li S, Jiang J, Yuan S.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Feb;98(8):e14649.
[ full text ]

Systematic Review of Yoga and Balance: Effect on Adults With Neuromuscular Impairment.
Green E, Huynh A, Broussard L, Zunker B, Matthews J, Hilton CL, Aranha K.
Am J Occup Ther. 2019 Jan/Feb;73(1):7301205150p1-7301205150p11.
[ abstract ]

Integrative effect of yoga practice in patients with knee arthritis: A PRISMA-compliant meta-analysis.
Wang Y, Lu S, Wang R, Jiang P, Rao F, Wang B, Zhu Y, Hu Y, Zhu J.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Aug;97(31):e11742.
[ abstract ]

Using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health Model to Gain Perspective of the Benefits of Yoga in Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, and Children to Inform Practice for Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Meta-Analysis.
Veneri D, Gannotti M, Bertucco M, Fournier Hillman SE.
J Altern Complement Med. 2018 May;24(5):439-457.
[ abstract ]

The Efficacy of Tai Chi and Yoga in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Spondyloarthropathies: A narrative biomedical review.
Akyuz G, Kenis-Coskun O.
Rheumatol Int. 2018 Mar;38(3):321-330.
[ abstract ]

Effects of yoga on chronic neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Cramer H, Klose P, Brinkhaus B, Michalsen A, Dobos G.
Clin Rehabil. 2017 Nov;31(11):1457-1465.
[ abstract ]

The Ottawa panel clinical practice guidelines for the management of knee osteoarthritis. Part one: introduction, and mind-body exercise programs.
Brosseau L, Taki J, Desjardins B, Thevenot O, Fransen M, Wells GA, Imoto AM, Toupin-April K, Westby M, Gallardo ICÁ, Gifford W, Laferrière L, Rahman P, Loew L, Angelis G, Cavallo S, Shallwani SM, Aburub A, Bennell KL, Van der Esch M, Simic M, McConnell S, Harmer A, Kenny GP, Paterson G, Regnaux JP, Lefevre-Colau MM, McLean L.
Clin Rehabil. 2017 May;31(5):582-595. doi: 10.1177/0269215517691083.
[ abstract ]

Yoga treatment for chronic non-specific low back pain.
Wieland LS, Skoetz N, Pilkington K, Vempati R, D'Adamo CR, Berman BM.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Jan 12;1:CD010671.
[ full text ]

The Effects of Yoga on Pain, Mobility, and Quality of Life in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review.
Kan L, Zhang J, Yang Y, Wang P.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:6016532.
[ full text ]

Effects of yoga on chronic neck pain: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Kim SD.
J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Jul;28(7):2171-4.
[ full text ]

Mind-Body Exercises for Nurses with Chronic Low Back Pain: An Evidence-Based Review.
Budhrani-Shani P, Berry DL, Arcari P, Langevin H, Wayne PM.
Nurs Res Pract. 2016;2016:9018036. doi: 10.1155/2016/9018036.
[ full text ]

Yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain: A systematic review of the literature.
Chang DG, Holt JA, Sklar M, Groessl EJ.
J Orthop Rheumatol. 2016 Jan 1;3(1):1-8.
[ full text ]

An evidence map of yoga for low back pain.
Goode AP, Coeytaux RR, McDuffie J, Duan-Porter W, Sharma P, Mennella H, Nagi A, Williams JW Jr.
Complement Ther Med. 2016 Apr;25:170-7.
[ abstract ]

Effects of Yoga on Symptoms, Physical Function, and Psychosocial Outcomes in Adults with Osteoarthritis: A Focused Review.
Cheung C, Park J, Wyman JF.
Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Feb;95(2):139-51.
[ abstract ]

Therapeutic Yoga: Symptom Management for Multiple Sclerosis.
Rogers KA, MacDonald M.
J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Nov;21(11):655-9.
[ full text ]

Yoga as a method of symptom management in multiple sclerosis.
Frank R, Larimore J.
Front Neurosci. 2015 Apr 30;9:133.
[ full text ]

Effectiveness of Iyengar yoga in treating spinal (back and neck) pain: A systematic review.
Crow EM, Jeannot E, Trewhela A.
Int J Yoga. 2015 Jan;8(1):3-14.
[ full text ]

Yoga for multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Cramer H, Lauche R, Azizi H, Dobos G, Langhorst J.
PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e112414.
[ full text ]

Cognitive and brain reserve for mind-body therapeutic approaches in multiple sclerosis: a review.
Crescentini C, Urgesi C, Fabbro F, Eleopra R.
Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2014;32(5):575-95.
[ abstract ]

Establishing key components of yoga interventions for musculoskeletal conditions: a Delphi survey.
Ward L, Stebbings S, Sherman KJ, Cherkin D, Baxter GD.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Jun 18;14:196.
[ full text ]

Yoga and Physical Rehabilitation Medicine: A Research Partnership in Integrative Care.
Middleton K, Acevedo A, Dietz L, Brandon Z, Andrade R, Wallen G.
J Yoga Phys Ther. 2013 Dec 7;3(4). pii: 149.
[ full text ]

Yoga as an alternative and complementary approach for arthritis: a systematic review.
Sharma M.
J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2014 Jan;19(1):51-8.
[ full text ]

Yoga in rheumatic diseases.
Bartlett SJ, Moonaz SH, Mill C, Bernatsky S, Bingham CO 3rd.
Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2013 Dec;15(12):387.
[ full text ]

ACP Journal Club. Review: Yoga reduces low back pain and back-specific disability.
Harper DM.
Ann Intern Med. 2013 Oct 15;159(8):JC13.
[ abstract ]

Yoga, vertebral fractures, and osteoporosis: research and recommendations.
Smith EN, Boser A.
Int J Yoga Therap. 2013;23(1):17-23.
[ full text ]

Yoga for rheumatic diseases: a systematic review.
Cramer H, Lauche R, Langhorst J, Dobos G.
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Nov;52(11):2025-30.
[ full text ]

Yoga for chronic low back pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Holtzman S, Beggs RT.
Pain Res Manag. 2013 Sep-Oct;18(5):267-72.
[ full text ]

Is yoga an effective treatment in the management of patients with chronic low back pain compared with other care modalities - a systematic review.
Hill C.
J Complement Integr Med. 2013 May 7;10.
[ abstract ]

Yoga for functional ability, pain and psychosocial outcomes in musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Ward L, Stebbings S, Cherkin D, Baxter GD.
Musculoskeletal Care. 2013 Dec;11(4):203-17.
[ abstract ]

A systematic review and meta-analysis of yoga for low back pain.
Cramer H, Lauche R, Haller H, Dobos G.
Clin J Pain. 2013 May;29(5):450-60.
[ abstract ]

Notable Publications

Notable Publications

Effectiveness of Hatha Yoga Versus Conventional Therapeutic Exercises for Chronic Nonspecific Low-Back Pain.
Neyaz O, Sumila L, Nanda S, Wadhwa S.
J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Jul 26.
[ abstract ]

Effect of yoga therapy on patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain: a prospective randomised wait list-controlled trial.
Sharma N, John PJ, Meghwal N, Owen A, Mishra V.
Clin Med (Lond). 2019 Jun;19(Suppl 3):87.
[ full text ]

Stabilization exercise versus yoga exercise in non-specific low back pain: Pain, disability, quality of life, performance: a randomized controlled trial.
Demirel A, Oz M, Ozel YA, Cetin H, Ulger O.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 May;35:102-108.
[ abstract ]

The Effects of M2M and Adapted Yoga on Physical and Psychosocial Outcomes in People With Multiple Sclerosis.
Young HJ, Mehta TS, Herman C, Wang F, Rimmer JH.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Mar;100(3):391-400.
[ abstract ]

The Association Between Yoga Use, Physical Function, and Employment in Adults With Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Greysen HM, Hong OS, Katz P.
Holist Nurs Pract. 2019 Mar/Apr;33(2):71-79.
[ abstract ]

A group-based yoga program for urinary incontinence in ambulatory women: feasibility, tolerability, and change in incontinence frequency over 3 months in a single-center randomized trial.
Huang AJ, Chesney M, Lisha N, Vittinghoff E, Schembri M, Pawlowsky S, Hsu A, Subak L.
Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Jan;220(1):87.e1-87.e13.
[ full text ]

Impact of yoga based mind-body intervention on systemic inflammatory markers and co-morbid depression in active Rheumatoid arthritis patients: A randomized controlled trial.
Gautam S, Tolahunase M, Kumar U, Dada R.
Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2019;37(1):41-59.
[ abstract ]

Effect of yoga on chronic non-specific neck pain: An unconditional growth model.
Allende S, Anandan A, Lauche R, Cramer H.
Complement Ther Med. 2018 Oct;40:237-242.
[ abstract ]

Add-on Effect Of Hot Sand Fomentation To Yoga On Pain, Disability, And Quality Of Life In Chronic Neck Pain Patients.
Nandini B, Mooventhan A, Manjunath NK.
Explore (NY). 2018 Sep;14(5):373-378.
[ abstract ]

Yoga education program for older women diagnosed with sarcopenia: A multicity 10-year follow-up experiment.
Pandya SP.
J Women Aging. 2018 Aug 22:1-24.
[ abstract ]

Effectiveness of yoga and educational intervention on disability, anxiety, depression, and pain in people with CLBP: A randomized controlled trial.
Kuvačić G, Fratini P, Padulo J, Antonio DI, De Giorgio A.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:262-267.
[ abstract ]

Effects of yogic exercise on nonspecific neck pain in university students.
Kim SD.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:338-342.
[ abstract ]

Effect of Mula Bandha Yoga in Mild Grade Pelvic Organ Prolapse: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Sweta KM, Godbole A, Awasthi HH, Pandey U.
Int J Yoga. 2018 May-Aug;11(2):116-121.
[ full text ]

Yoga for the management of pain and sleep in rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot randomized controlled trial.
Ward L, Stebbings S, Athens J, Cherkin D, David Baxter G.
Musculoskeletal Care. 2018 Mar;16(1):39-47.
[ abstract ]

Feasibility and assessment of outcome measures for yoga as self-care for minorities with arthritis: a pilot study.
Middleton KR, Ward MM, Haaz Moonaz S, Magaña López M, Tataw-Ayuketah G, Yang L, Acevedo AT, Brandon Z, Wallen GR.
Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2018 Feb 20;4:53.
[ full text ]

Yoga meditation (YoMed) and its effect on proprioception and balance function in elders who have fallen: A randomized control study.
Wooten SV, Signorile JF, Desai SS, Paine AK, Mooney K.
Complement Ther Med. 2018 Feb;36:129-136.
[ full text ]

Effects of Pilates and yoga in patients with chronic neck pain: A sonographic study.
Uluğ N, Yılmaz ÖT, Kara M, Özçakar L.
J Rehabil Med. 2018 Jan 10;50(1):80-85.
[ full text ]

Benefits of the Restorative Exercise and Strength Training for Operational Resilience and Excellence Yoga Program for Chronic Low Back Pain in Service Members: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.
Highland KB, Schoomaker A, Rojas W, Suen J, Ahmed A, Zhang Z, Carlin SF, Calilung CE, Kent M, McDonough C, Buckenmaier CC 3rd.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2018 Jan;99(1):91-98.
[ abstract ]

Cost-effectiveness of yoga for managing musculoskeletal conditions in the workplace.
Hartfiel N, Clarke G, Havenhand J, Phillips C, Edwards RT.
Occup Med (Lond). 2017 Dec 30;67(9):687-695.
[ full text ]

Yoga for Military Veterans with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Groessl EJ, Liu L, Chang DG, Wetherell JL, Bormann JE, Atkinson JH, Baxi S, Schmalzl L.
Am J Prev Med. 2017 Nov;53(5):599-608.
[ full text ]

Yoga, Physical Therapy, or Education for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Noninferiority Trial.
Saper RB, Lemaster C, Delitto A, Sherman KJ, Herman PM, Sadikova E, Stevans J, Keosaian JE, Cerrada CJ, Femia AL, Roseen EJ, Gardiner P, Gergen Barnett K, Faulkner C, Weinberg J.
Ann Intern Med. 2017 Jul 18;167(2):85-94.
[ full text ]

Effect of Selected Yogic Practices on Pain and Disability in Patients with Lumbar Spondylitis.
Manik RK, Mahapatra AK, Gartia R, Bansal S, Patnaik A.
Int J Yoga. 2017 May-Aug;10(2):81-87.
[ full text ]

Effects of yoga, strength training and advice on back pain: a randomized controlled trial.
Brämberg EB, Bergström G, Jensen I, Hagberg J, Kwak L.
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017 Mar 29;18(1):132.
[ full text ]

A Randomized Controlled Trial to Assess Pain and Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Based (MRI-Based) Structural Spine Changes in Low Back Pain Patients After Yoga Practice.
Telles S, Bhardwaj AK, Gupta RK, Sharma SK, Monro R, Balkrishna A.
Med Sci Monit. 2016 Sep 13;22:3228-47.
[ full text ]

Heart rate variability in chronic low back pain patients randomized to yoga or standard care.
Telles S, Sharma SK, Gupta RK, Bhardwaj AK, Balkrishna A.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Aug 11;16(1):279.
[ full text ]

Influence of yoga and aerobics exercise on fatigue, pain and psychosocial status in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized trial.
Hasanpour Dehkordi A.
J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016 Nov;56(11):1417-1422.
[ abstract ]

Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Balderson BH, Cook AJ, Anderson ML, Hawkes RJ, Hansen KE, Turner JA.
JAMA. 2016 Mar 22-29;315(12):1240-9.
[ full text ]

Yoga in Sedentary Adults with Arthritis: Effects of a Randomized Controlled Pragmatic Trial.
Moonaz SH, Bingham CO 3rd, Wissow L, Bartlett SJ.
J Rheumatol. 2015 Jul;42(7):1194-202.
[ full text ]

Cost-effectiveness of early interventions for non-specific low back pain: a randomized controlled study investigating medical yoga, exercise therapy and self-care advice.
Aboagye E, Karlsson ML, Hagberg J, Jensen I.
J Rehabil Med. 2015 Feb;47(2):167-73.
[ full text ]

Preference and Expectation for Treatment Assignment in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Once- vs Twice-weekly Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain.
Tran HH, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ, Saper RB.
Glob Adv Health Med. 2015 Jan;4(1):34-9.
[ full text ]

Compliance effects in a randomised controlled trial of yoga for chronic low back pain: a methodological study.
Tilbrook HE, Hewitt CE, Aplin JD, Semlyen A, Trewhela A, Watt I, Torgerson DJ.
Physiotherapy. 2014 Sep;100(3):256-62.
[ full text ]

Yoga for managing knee osteoarthritis in older women: a pilot randomized controlled trial.
Cheung C, Wyman JF, Resnick B, Savik K.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 May 18;14:160.
[ full text ]

Yoga for chronic neck pain: a 12-month follow-up.
Cramer H, Lauche R, Hohmann C, Langhorst J, Dobos G.
Pain Med. 2013 Apr;14(4):541-8.
[ full text ]

Randomized-controlled trial comparing yoga and home-based exercise for chronic neck pain.
Cramer H, Lauche R, Hohmann C, Lüdtke R, Haller H, Michalsen A, Langhorst J, Dobos G.
Clin J Pain. 2013 Mar;29(3):216-23.
[ abstract ]

Comparing Once- versus Twice-Weekly Yoga Classes for Chronic Low Back Pain in Predominantly Low Income Minorities: A Randomized Dosing Trial.
Saper RB, Boah AR, Keosaian J, Cerrada C, Weinberg J, Sherman KJ.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:658030.
[ full text ]

Effects of an integrated approach of hatha yoga therapy on functional disability, pain, and flexibility in osteoarthritis of the knee joint: a randomized controlled study.
Ebnezar J, Nagarathna R, Yogitha B, Nagendra HR.
J Altern Complement Med. 2012 May;18(5):463-72.
[ abstract ]

A randomized trial comparing yoga, stretching, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain.
Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, Cook AJ, Hawkes RJ, Delaney K, Deyo RA.
Arch Intern Med. 2011 Dec 12;171(22):2019-26.
[ full text ]

Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial.
Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, Kang'ombe AR, Chuang LH, Jayakody S, Aplin JD, Semlyen A, Trewhela A, Watt I, Torgerson DJ.
Ann Intern Med. 2011 Nov 1;155(9):569-78.
[ full text ]

Evaluation of the effectiveness and efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on chronic low back pain.
Williams K, Abildso C, Steinberg L, Doyle E, Epstein B, Smith D, Hobbs G, Gross R, Kelley G, Cooper L.
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Sep 1;34(19):2066-76.
[ full text ]

Comparing yoga, exercise, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial.
Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Erro J, Miglioretti DL, Deyo RA.
Ann Intern Med. 2005 Dec 20;143(12):849-56.
[ full text ]

Randomized controlled trial of yoga and exercise in multiple sclerosis.
Oken BS, Kishiyama S, Zajdel D, Bourdette D, Carlsen J, Haas M, Hugos C, Kraemer DF, Lawrence J, Mass M.
Neurology. 2004 Jun 8;62(11):2058-64.
[ abstract ]

Yoga-based intervention for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized trial.
Garfinkel MS, Singhal A, Katz WA, Allan DA, Reshetar R, Schumacher HR Jr.
JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1601-3.
[ abstract ]

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