Yoga:
Yoga is Pain Reliever

It's no secret that yoga increases muscular flexibility and strength, but you may not know that yoga is a proven treatment for back pain, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic pain conditions.

Yoga shows promise as a treatment for relieving certain kinds of chronic pain. When German researchers compared Iyengar Yoga with a self-care exercise program among people with chronic neck pain, they found that yoga reduced pain scores by more than half. Examining yoga's effects on a different kind of chronic pain, UCLA researchers studied young women suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, an often debilitating autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints. About half of those who took part in a six-week Iyengar Yoga program reported improvements in measures of pain, as well as in anxiety and depression.

Ways Yoga Helps Reduce Pain

  • Mild to moderate exercise actually decreases physical pain.
  • The increased flow of oxygen to the brain and muscle tissues in yoga improves your energy levels and sense of well-being.
  • Combining breath awareness with the physical movements of a yoga practice helps release muscle tension held in your body.
  • For people with certain conditions, such as arthritis, moving your joints through their range of motion and stretching your muscles can decrease the intensity of your pain or relieve your pain completely.
  • Practicing yoga on a regular basis may affect your response to pain, decreasing your level of perceived suffering.
  • Although chronic pain can worsen our ability to handle other stresses in our lives, regular yoga practice can improve stress management and can have a feedback effect on improving chronic pain.
    Bridge Yoga On Grass
  • Additionally, in her book Yoga for Pain Relief, Kelly McGonigal points out to chronic pain sufferers that, “Yoga can teach you how to focus your mind to change your experience of physical pain. It can teach you how to transform feelings of sadness, frustration, fear, and anger. It can teach you how to listen to your body and take care of your needs so that you can participate in the activities that matter to you. It can give you back the sense of safety, control, and courage that you need to move past your experience of chronic pain.”

Is yoga effective in treating pain?

Until recently, there were few studies to test yoga's safety and success in treating chronic low back pain. But as patients and some physicians turned to complementary therapies to help manage pain and illness, mind-body medicine techniques once considered dubious are now being tested in the same ways traditional therapies are.

Indian In Field Yoga

How does yoga ease chronic pain?

"Yoga works on stretching and strengthening, and the key to long-term healing is the strength," says Liz Owen, who studied with B.K.S. Iyengar, founder of the Iyengar yoga discipline. Owen, who has been teaching yoga for many years and runs classes in Arlington and Cambridge, Massachusetts, noticed that many people taking her classes had various injuries and all manner of back issues. Working with them, she came to develop a gentle yoga protocol for back pain. By building strength, releasing muscle tension, improving flexibility, and bolstering joints and bones, yoga can bring the body into balance, thereby alleviating pain. And the therapeutic benefits of yoga are not just physical, Owen says.

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"There are the other levels, the mental and emotional levels," she explains. "When we give ourselves the time to do these slow, deep, but gentle stretches, we bring all the parts of the body into balance. Then the mind can find a positive focus, instead of focusing on the pain." Deep breathing also results in both physical and psychological benefits, she adds. Since the emotional effects of chronic pain are often devastating, the calming, grounding benefits of yoga can be very therapeutic.

  Shanon Kareil   Friday, 12 Jul 2019   185 Views

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