YOGA TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN…

Yoga is based on rhythm and breathing rather than core strength, so it’s useful for relaxation and stress. There are lots of different types of Yoga available today but some good ones for pain are Bikram Yoga, Yin, Iyengar Yoga and Glow Yoga.

Bikram Yoga is a unique series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises, performed in a heated room to enhance your stretching. It covers a series of postures which have been scientifically designed to work every part of the body in the correct order. The heat facilitates stretching, prevents injury and promotes sweating, which aids detoxification.

Yin Yoga is a yoga for the joints that stretches the connective tissue. It is a very distinctive style of Chinese yoga, which some believe is the oldest form of Hatha yoga. Yang exercises work your heart and muscles and the exercises are floor-based. Lying down can immediately relax your body and unlike other Yogas, you hold your posture for up to ten minutes. It has been said to feel like ‘peeling off layers of tension’.

Iyengar Yoga is perfect for people who feel ‘stiff’. It’s the safest and most effective way to stretch your whole body and improve your flexibility. It’s characterised by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment with the use of ‘props’, such as cushions, benches, blocks and even sand bags.

There are more than 200 deep poses, which you work towards holding for up to two minutes, which make it great for lengthening your muscles. They say it is a perfect type of yoga, if you’ve got a muscular or joint injury. With so many different types of Yoga available, it gets a bit confusing as to which one to choose, but it’s really a case of try one, then try another.

Healthline have an article with the ten best yoga poses for back pain, but please don’t try these if you have never done yoga before, check with your GP then try a class with a fully qualified instructor.

Another company Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs has a video you can watch on specific yoga moves for lower back pain. On the NHS website they also have an article on how ‘yoga may improve back pain’.

The British Wheel of Yoga website has lots of information about Yoga and the 30th OM Yoga Show which takes place 18th/19th & 20th October.

My book of choice would be ‘Yoga Therapy: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Yoga and Ayurveda For Health and Fitness’, by A G Mohan.

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TREAT YOURSELF WITH ACUPRESSURE FOR LOWER BACK PAIN…

If you are suffering from lower back pain then according to Science Daily you could treat yourself using acupressure.

A recent study found that people with chronic lower back pain who performed self-administered acupressure experienced improvement in pain and fatigue symptoms.

Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but instead of needles, pressure is applied with a finger, thumb or device to specific points on the body and while acupressure has been previously studied — and found to be beneficial — in people with cancer-related or osteoarthritis pain, there are few studies that have examined acupressure in people with back pain.

In the study, published in Pain Medicine, the research team randomly assigned 67 participants with chronic low back pain into three groups: relaxing acupressure, stimulating acupressure or usual care.

“Relaxing acupressure is thought to be effective in reducing insomnia, while stimulating acupressure is thought to be effective in fatigue reduction,” says Susan Murphy lead author of the study.

Participants in the acupressure groups were trained to administer acupressure on certain points of the body, and spent between 27 and 30 minutes daily, over the course of six weeks, performing the technique.

Participants in the usual care group were asked to continue whatever treatments they were currently receiving from their care providers to manage their back pain and fatigue.

“Compared to the usual care group, we found that people who performed stimulating acupressure experienced pain and fatigue improvement and those that performed relaxing acupressure felt their pain had improved after six weeks,” Murphy says.

“We found no differences among the groups in terms of sleep quality or disability after the six weeks.”

Murphy notes that chronic pain is difficult to manage and people with the condition tend to have additional symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbance and depression.

“Better treatments are needed for chronic pain,” Murphy says. “Most treatments offered are medications, which have side effects, and in some cases, may increase the risk of abuse and addiction.”

She says this study highlights the benefits of a non-pharmacological treatment option that patients could perform easily on their own and see positive results.

“Although larger studies are needed, acupressure may be a useful pain management strategy given that it is low risk, low cost and easy to administer,” Murphy says.

“We also recommend additional studies into the different types of acupressure and how they could more specifically be targeted to patients based on their symptoms.”

Source : Michigan Medicine University of Michigan and Science Daily

THE MANY HEALTH BENEFITS OF YOGA…

Although I’ve never personally tried yoga I do envy devotees of the exercise. I think it’s something I really should at least try as I keep reading the many health benefits to Yoga.

They say that an hour on the mat may lead to a better night’s sleep, which we could all do with. It doesn’t just tone your body it cares for our bodies as well as our emotional well-being.

Studies show yoga can also help to lower blood pressure, ease migraines and back pain and even reduce some of the symptoms of the menopause.

Yoga will improve your flexibility and balance and with a number of poses focusing on breathing it will also help to lower your stress levels.

There are a number of different styles of yoga, Hatha can be gentle or dynamic but because of its slower pace, it’s the first choice for new starters of yoga.

Others include Vinyasa flow, which is great for anyone who loves to dance. It’s a flowing yoga which is suitable to all levels even if you have not done yoga before.

Lyengar yoga is a slow paced style of yoga with some tricky poses but age and flexibility are not an issue.

The other well known Bikram yoga is suitable for the physically fit with a demanding 26 pose sequence which takes place in a very hot room.

Ash tanga is a series of short-held poses and breathing techniques that will need a good level of fitness.

Kundalini, they say is for the soul-seeker as it features chanting, breathing, and rapid movements.

Finally, Restorative yoga is for anyone who is stressed out as this type of yoga is all about relaxation and rejuvenation. Most of the poses involve lying down and staying still for a while so it won’t take long before you feel completely relaxed and stressed out.

PRACTICE MINDFUL BREATHING TO HELP EASE PAIN…

If you practice mindful breathing even just for a few minutes, this can help ease some of your pain.

The book, Every Breath You Take: How To Breath Your Way To A Mindful Life by Rose Elliot’s has all the techniques to help you practice the way to breath better.

Rose will help you observe and open your awareness to your breathing with 16 accessible mindful breathing exercises like how to sit quietly with your spine straight and your eyes closed. How to sit quietly, concentrating on one mindful breath after another. Feel peace and strength that this brings abc realise that, in this moment, all is well.

The Buddhist Centre explains that the simple discipline of concentration brings us back to the present moment and all the richness of experience that it contains. It is a way to develop mindfulness, the faculty of alert and sensitive awareness.

WHY WE SHOULD ALL TRY YOGA FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

This great graphic which I found on Pinterest from My Southern Health shows how we can easily try some Yoga positions for chronic pain. Psychology Today write that chronic pain triggers changes in brain structure that are linked to depressionanxiety, and impaired cognitive function. New research shows that practising Yoga has the opposite effect on the brain and can relieve chronic pain.

Harvard Health points out that Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that among 313 people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobility more than standard medical care for the condition. Another study published at nearly the same time found that Yoga was comparable to standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic low back pain.

A meta-analysis of 17 studies that included more than 1,600 participants concluded that yoga can improve daily function among people with fibromyalgia osteoporosis-related curvature of the spine. Practising Yoga also improved mood and psychosocial well-being.

 

Try yoga techniques for chronic pain management. In this infographic, we share 8 poses can help ease your pain and stress. Learn more on My Southern Health.