More and more research shows that yoga is good for lower back problems, but fitting a few classes into a tight schedule, not mention the costs of doing so, might be even more of a pain. For those on a budget, a new study found that one class per week is just as beneficial as two for lower income minority patients.

"Lower income patients often have worse lower back pain due to limited access to both mainstream health care treatments and complementary treatments such as yoga, massage and acupuncture," said lead author Dr. Robert Saper, a family medicine physician and director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center.

Saper's team recruited 95 low-income adults with bad backs to particpate in a 12-week yoga trial.

"Less than 20% were white and one-third had a high school education or less," wrote the authors, who also noted that most of the subjects - 77 percent - had a household income below $40,000.

The subjects were split into two groups, with one group attending once-a-week class, while other group had two sessions per week. Participants were also encouraged to practice techniques at home when they had free time.

At the end of the trial, both groups reported substantial, but equivalent, reductions in pain level. Pain medication usage also dropped for both groups.

"Given the similar improvement seen in once weekly yoga classes, and that once a week is more convenient and less expensive, we recommend patients suffering from lower back pain who want to pursue yoga attend a weekly therapeutic yoga class," said Saper.

Lower back pain is just as common for other races and income levels, and yoga-based treatment has yielded similar results for these groups. A health report from Harvard suggests that Iyengar yoga works well for chronic back pain.

Anyone with chronic back pain who seeks yoga therapy should take extra precautions to avoid pushing themselves too hard and possibly exacerbating the problem.

Source: Saper RB, Boah AR, Keosaian J. Comparing Once- versus Twice-Weekly Yoga Classes for Chronic Low Back Pain in Predominantly Low Income Minorities: A Randomized Dosing Trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013.