NHS Signposting and Referrals

How can GPs / health professionals signpost, introduce and refer to the ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ (YHLB) 12-week course to patients?

YHLB Yoga GP Referrals

  • Empower your patients to help themselves with this long-term self-management option that gives them a long-term mind-body self-help tool-kit.
  • Offer the free to GPs for their patients ‘Simply Relax’ App (audio relaxation) to patients as a way of introducing YHLB – GP surgeries should email us (below) for access to this. (English and Urdu versions – the latter commissioned by a Sheffield CCG).
  • Give Patients the Trifold Info Leaflet …Here Local teachers can bring you some paper copies. (Please ask – below. These work well on notice-boards.)
  • Talk about the latest research evidence and how exercise is the best way forwards for self-management of recurring or persistent low back pain (esp biopsychosocial positive approach).
  • Direct them to the Website yogaforbacks.co.uk to find out more and to make contact with one of our self-employed Registered teachers. Find a Teacher page …Here
  • Offer this as a way of giving patients self-management advice and support available as a patient choice in their community (helpful at all stages in the care pathway)
  • There may be social prescribing, community, NHS, Public Health, Sports, Workplaces schemes offering subsidies locally in your area for YHLB
  • Explain that this offers a gentle and kind approach to beginning to exercise, with added relaxation / breathing / positive mental attitude skills and know that YHLB could additionally help other co-existing stress-related conditions.
  • Patients might appreciate the ‘putting yourself in control’ aspect of the course.
  • Patients might have to wait a while for a course start-date, as in our trial.
  • Know that Workplaces/ Employers might offer time off work or subsidies (due to 70% reduction in work absenteeism)
  • Despite the associated costs, realise that YHLB offers good value comparative to other short-term / repetitive dose type treatments that patients may be considering or already trying
  • Thank you for understanding the importance of signposting to these specific, high-quality, appropriate and specialised evidence-based ‘Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs’ 12-week courses taught by self-employed teachers supported by our national social enterprise, Steering Group and training school.

Just recommending ‘yoga’ is often not helpful enough.  Signpost to this specific EBM specialised yoga programme that has been shown to empower people to help themselves for the long-term.

Many thanks for your time and support for our post-research development project where Arthritis Research Uk are supporting us to share this evidence-based yoga programme with others (for the benefit of patients and referrers).

Example Referrals

Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs – Referral Examples

Inclusion Criteria

  1. Willing and able to get up and down off the floor, perhaps with the help of a chair and/or wall.
  2. Want to attend this course in order to help themselves to improved comfort, health and well-being
  3. Have a lower back and want it to be healthy! Stress / psychosocial issues can be helped.


  1. Man 60s; anxious; heart condition; shoulder problem; long-term back pain episodes (“Life-changing experience, after years of frustration” = end of course feedback)
  2. ‘Failed’ spinal surgery; walking-stick; back pain; 70s; very motivated to make a difference; wanting to learn how to stand up tall again (since course practising daily with husband plus improved lbp oedema and reduced leg and back pain, increased mobility)
  3. Husband of lady above; 70s; occasional back pain as doing most things around the house; co-existing medical conditions that may improve, e.g. blood pressure, heart (loved course)
  4. Young girl 20s; seeing GP for depression; manual job causes low back pain, but needs to keep working; social situations a challenge (embraced this course; benefitted from support from teacher and yoga self-practice)
  5. Man 70s; double hip surgery 4 years’ ago with continual pain at hips since; low back pain; in farming (amazed at Class 1 how his hip and back pain disappeared)
  6. Lady 70s; “I know I am stooped and want to stand up tall again”; anxious/ busy mind; can’t lie flat on back (used pillow/ blanket set-up and could do this from class 3); can’t sleep; pain every night (“hooked on yoga now”, pain disappeared)
  7. Man 30s; herniated disc with sciatica; knee problems; high blood pressure (avoided surgery, loves the relaxation; pleased to be able to continue to work hard for his business)
  8. Man 30s; tree surgeon; tired with young baby; often has back pain (very pleased to help himself with the yoga sequences and the relaxation CD)
  9. Lady 40s; RCHT NHS employee kept having episodes of back pain (course teaching her to help herself at home and at work)
  10. Lady 60s; depression; scoliosis for years; stomach/IBS issues (“opened up corners of my mind for which I am very grateful”)
  11. Lady 20s; single Mum; anxious and very nervous about her back condition; ended up in A&A often with back spasms (until did this course, happy to have yoga tools)
  12. Lady 30s; responsible job and does not want to take time off work, but ended up in A&E monthly with back pain; from Pain Clinic with 2 herniated discs and sacroiliac pain (no more A&E; “amazing what I can do for myself now, whereas before I felt out of control with pain”)
  13. Man 50s; long-term depression and anxiety; occasional back pain (pleased GP surgery offered him the course to help him to help himself)
  14. Man 40s; lifelong congenital back condition; spondylolisthesis; 4m off work due to lbp; anxiety (back to work; family delighted can go for family walks; keeping up the yoga forever)
  15. Lady 50s; post-spinal-surgery; very anxious about back; depression; left work due to her condition (confidence to move/ exercise; did the course twice; surgeon told her to continue with this yoga for life; helped her to move happily into retirement)
  16. Lady 40s; frozen shoulder; active; back pain affecting job (enthused about the yoga’s effects)
  17. Man 60s; divorce stress; worried about exercising; years of back pain on and off; diagnosed disc problem years ago (happy to have well-structured gentle yoga to help him get back to exercising)

More Queries – Email – [email protected]

YHLB Yoga NHS Referrals