Every week I see a number of patients suffering from some kind of chronic pain syndrome. Ranging from severe face and jaw pain, to migraines, to knee and ankle weight bearing issues, to repetitive stress problems in the shoulders, elbows and wrists…the list does not stop here.
As someone who has had to confront chronic pain in my own body, I know how hard it is to figure out how to help ourselves — especially when we’re suffering and there seems to be no way out of the constant, exhausting and often debilitating issues.
Yoga Therapy for Chronic Pain
If you suffer from chronic or chronic intermittent pain — the kind of pain that haunts you off and on — learn how yoga can help you.
Dr. Baxter Bell, a renown yoga therapist, mentions breath work (or Pranayama to us yogis) as one way to deal with pain. And I can attest that this is one thing that I have seen in my practice to work like a miracle for many of my patients.
One elderly patient of mine broke his left wrist. That was bad enough at his tender age of 79, but what occurred after was a neurologic pain response in his right foot. Now he could hardly walk or stand because the pain was excruciating.
We did all that we could with hands-on care, chiropractic, deep tissue, ART, yoga mobilization, even Z Health drills which include visual and vestibular activation. Nothing was helping longterm, but guess what we also did?
All the other modalities are still of great benefit and I wouldn’t suggest he do one thing over the other, but the profound changes that come from breath work, during yoga asana and while laying down or sitting made the biggest difference for my patient.
Here are 7 Ways Yoga Helps to Decrease Chronic Pain:
- Movement during mild to moderate exercise over rides pain stimulus and decreases physical pain.
- Increased oxygen and blood flow to the brain and muscles improves energy and a sense of wellbeing.
- Combining breath and movement in yoga reduces muscular tension.
- Moving joints in their full ranges of motion and lengthening muscles through stretching during a yoga session eliminates joint pain. Great for Arthritic conditions.
- Practicing yoga may help to reduce perceived suffering. Yoga keeps you mellow.
- Yoga helps with stress management.
- Yoga teaches you how to listen to your body. It can give you a sense of safety, control, and courage to move past your perceived sense of pain.