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Clin Rehabil. 2017 Nov;31(11):1457-1465. doi: 10.1177/0269215517698735. Epub 2017 Mar 9.

Effects of yoga on chronic neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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1 Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.
2 Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
3 Department of Internal and Complementary Medicine, Immanuel Hospital Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



The aim of this review was to systematically assess and meta-analyze the effectiveness of yoga in relieving chronic neck pain.


PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, Scopus, and IndMED were screened through January 2017 for randomized controlled trials assessing neck pain intensity and/or neck pain-related disability in chronic neck pain patients. Secondary outcome measures included quality of life, mood, and safety. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool.


Three studies on 188 patients with chronic non-specific neck pain comparing yoga to usual care were included. Two studies had overall low risk of bias; and one had high or unclear risk of bias for several domains. Evidence for short-term effects was found for neck pain intensity (standardized mean difference (SMD) = -1.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -1.18, -0.75; P < 0.001), neck pain-related disability (SMD = -0.97; 95% CI = -1.44, -0.50; P < 0.001), quality of life (SMD = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.17, 0.197; P = 0.005), and mood (SMD = -1.02; 95% CI = -1.38, -0.65; P < 0.001). Effects were robust against potential methodological bias and did not differ between different intervention subgroups. In the two studies that included safety data, no serious adverse events occurred.


Yoga has short-term effects on chronic neck pain, its related disability, quality of life, and mood suggesting that yoga might be a good treatment option.


Neck pain; meta-analysis; systematic review; yoga


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