Yoga is one of the top 10 most popular alternative medicine therapies for health. It is 4,000 years old and has been used as a method for physical and spiritual healing for physical and mental well-being. Along with massage and Pilates, consumers rate yoga equivalent to prescription medications for easing low back pain and can even help those affected by irritable bowel syndrome.
Yoga can be a universal mend-all for chronic pain issues. Studies show that yoga can reduce symptoms in disability, in rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis. Yoga can heal injured back muscles by stretching and strengthening the muscles, speeding time to recover from an injury thereby preventing re-injury. A big part in the treatment of chronic pain is exercise and movement. Keeping the body moving and preventing the body from becoming stiff is key to maintaining a low pain state. Yoga promotes increased blood circulation which brings healing nutrients to tissues. Yoga helps people maintain a regular level of daily activities to avoid disability.
For those of us suffering from chronic pain, we know how it affects our body and brain. Chronic pain can actually change your brain structure in areas linked to depression and anxiety and can actually be attributed to impaired cognitive function. Yoga has the opposite effect on the brain. Yoga creates better communication between areas of the brain and promotes endorphins which combat pain. The adrenaline and endorphins that your body produces during a session in yoga can be similar to taking a dose of pain medication for some. Yoga is a great drug-free way to combat chronic pain.
Yoga may not work for everyone. For some, it is a great way to relieve stress related pain because it promotes relaxation through meditation. It can’t hurt to try it out (pun not intended).
To learn more about yoga and it’s benefits, listen to my radio show episode “Yoga for Well Being and Comfort.”