Hit the yoga mat to relieve pain.

As a treatment for back pain, regular yoga has advantages over more conventional methods like physical therapy, says Peter Abaci, MD, medical director of the Bay Area Pain & Wellness Center in Los Gatos, California.

The ancient practice has also been shown to soothe other aches as well—probably because of the way it connects your mind, your breathing, and the movements of your body.

“Yoga works the whole body, not just one part,” Dr. Abaci says. “When a person is in chronic pain, usually his whole body changes, and treating only the part that was originally injured or is hurting is not enough.”

Find a yoga class at your local gym. Dr. Abaci also recommends this DVD for beginners: Viniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum & Hips with Gary Kraftsow.

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