Yoga That Can Treat Chronic Pain

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Yoga is known as the unification of the mind, body and spirit. It is a mind‐body practice originating from ancient India which has gained popularity in the West over the last century.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: 28076926
. It is a form of mind-body fitness involving a combination of muscular activity and an internally directed mindful focus on awareness of the self, the breath, and energy. 2✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMID: 9773368

Choosing yoga means that you are ready for a healthy life that will serve you a long way! Most people gravitate towards a physiotherapist or chiropractor for chronic pains. However, Yoga offers some unique advantages over conventional therapies, embodied by its four basic principles. These principles are 1. The inter-connectedness of the different dimensions that make up a holistic entity. 2. Every individual is unique and hence a healing approach must be tailored to their individual needs. 3. Yoga is empowering, because the teacher only facilitates the student in their own healing journey. 4. Yoga is also mind-set based, which means that a positive mindset accelerates recovery from ailments. 3✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
PMC: 22022122
These principles form pretty compelling arguments for yoga, even on an intuitive level, because we can all relate to our bodies responding differently to the same treatments, and we know from experience that having a headache for instance, can be cured by treating your gut!

Why Yoga Is Good For Pain Management in the Body?

Yoga is great for joint pain because it keeps them moving without applying pressure on the inflamed tissue. Another important aspect is that sometimes the movement is so painful, and the range so limited that it can cause injury, and so yogic postures can keep the muscles around the joints strong and flexible.

Some of the benefits of yoga for pain management in Arthritis, Joint Pain, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic fatigue syndrome include the following.

  • It helps with improving mobility by making effortless movements
  • It helps in preventing the breakdown of the soft bones and cartilage that covers the joints
  • It helps in reducing stress in the body and mind
  • It protects the spine and improves weight handling, and weight loss
  • It is an excellent mood booster
  • It also helps in increasing energy and boosting metabolism
  • It improves body flexibility, balance, and stability

Best Yoga Poses for Managing Chronic Pain

Baddha Konasana

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Most chronic pain-related yoga poses help in focusing on the spine and engaging the whole body. This pose, commonly called the butterfly pose, or the ‘Bound angle’ pose is very helpful in opening up and relaxing deep hip muscles. If you require longer sitting times, you may need to stretch your hips and legs before doing this. For this pose, you’d need to do sit on a leveled surface and make sure that the soles of your feet touch the whole time. Your knees and hips need a little stretch to reduce the tightness. The full benefits of this posture, as well as a video tutorial from my favorite yoga teacher, Adrienne, can be found here for free !

Setu Bandha Sarvanana

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This posture, usually known as the bridge pose is very good for lower back pain management. For this posture, you will lie down on your back and then bend your knees. Now focus on the core and then make an arch with your core. Your shoulders will be touching the ground while your body hangs in the air. You can also use your back for support as well. Watch the full video tutorial for this here!

Ardha Kati Chakrasana

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This ‘standing side stretch’ pose is an easy but rejuvenating stretch of the upper body to help with shoulder, neck, and arm stiffness. First, you would stand straight and then raise both your hands above your head. Your palm together in a prayer pose would now move and stretch in one direction as you slightly bend your hips. Repeat this movement on the other side for a nice long stretch. This is good for body balance, stability and specifically helps with improving body pain.

Viparita Karani

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Finally, this ‘legs-up-the-wall’ pose is great for improving blood flow towards the brain. It is one of the seemingly harder poses, but it’s benefits toward blood circulation in the brain is myriad. It also provides instant relief for the lower back, legs and feet. For this posture, you’d start by first lying down on the floor, and then lifting your legs with the support of the wall. Make an L shape against the wall, and then rest for a bit. For an awesome full tutorial of this posture, (and when in doubt about any yogic posture) go back to Adrienne ! Remember to breathe and take your time as you do every single one of these postures. Yoga is all about what feels good for your body!

Bottom Line

To sum it all up, yoga is not a set of simple exercises. It is a precise science dating back over 3000 years, that integrates the different aspects of body, mind and breath under a holistic umbrella. Recent research is exploring and now exploding with the benefits of yoga in several ailments. Many randomized controlled trials have tested the effectiveness of yoga in relieving symptoms of the lower back. From aging, injury, to skin benefits, yoga, done correctly and persistently can be a total  game changer. We hope you enjoy these practices and the abundance of health and wellbeing it can bring into your life !

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