Yoga originated in India over 4,000 years ago. It consists of three core elements: physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Western yoga has been adapted to suit modern life, but it retains the healing benefits intended for this practice. It has also been beneficial with back pain, neck pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and headaches.
It doesn’t matter whether you have had a chronic backache for decades or recently suffered an acute back injury, yoga can play a vital role in getting you back to full fitness. Yoga was once the realm of dreadlocked hippies, chanting oms while surrounded by sweet-smelling incense sticks.
However, nowadays, it is seen as a viable treatment for all sorts of aches, pains and physical ailments. Alongside its mental health benefits, doctors are choosing to prescribe yoga rather than painkillers to help people recover from injuries and manage pain.
It is important to note that you should always contact your GP before starting yoga as it is not appropriate for all types of injuries. In general, gentle yoga may help a chronic injury. However, if your injury is acute and severe, you need to allow it to heal (with rest) before beginning a yoga program.
Many people may not wish to join a yoga class because it can be intimidating, or even embarrassing if your back hurts and you can’t execute the moves without moaning and groaning. This is perfectly understandable.
The good news is that you can do yoga in the privacy of your own home. All you need is a yoga mat, suitable clothing, and the right poses.
Yoga can offer several benefits for people who are experiencing joint-related pain, and yoga is excellent for chronic pain. Some benefits in addition to pain management, include:
- Improving mobility and function
- Preventing cartilage and joint breakdown
- Reducing stress
- Protecting the spine and helping improve posture
- Improving mood
- Increasing psychological wellbeing
- Improving strength, stability, flexibility, and balance
- Promoting relaxation
- Increasing energy
- Increasing metabolism and helping manage weight
Whether you have hip, back, knee, or shoulder pain, yoga can be a great way to help you with pain management. Daily yoga can help strengthen the back and alleviate or prevent back pain.
Our mental health can have a massive impact on our physical well-being. Feeling anxious and stressed can lead to physical tension which can result in more injuries and pain. This can mean a vicious cycle ensues as you are keen to recover quickly from an injury, but you are anxious about it at the same time.
It is a fantastic form of stress relief. The slow controlled movements combined with the breathing techniques will calm your mind and body. Most health problems get better when you’re less stressed, and your back pain is no different.
With yoga, you can learn all sorts of breathing exercises alongside physical postures. This can ease tension within your body and mind, resulting in fewer niggles and aches.
There is also an element of stretching in yoga. You may be surprised to know that even tight hamstrings and hip flexors can worsen your back pain. The poses in yoga will help to stretch many major muscle groups in your body.
Yoga will also improve your posture. One of the keys to reducing back pain is to improve your posture. Yoga will really benefit you in this area. It’ll also align your body and correct any imbalances within.
A great book on the subject is “Yoga for Chronic Pain: 7 Steps to Aid Recovery from Fibromyalgia with Yoga: by Kayla Kurin.“ The Author writes – Are you living with fibromyalgia? Are you tired of hopping from medication to medication and doctor to doctor without seeing any lasting results?
Yoga isn’t just a new exercise. It’s part of a medical system that’s been supporting conditions like fibromyalgia for over 2000 years Inside this book you’ll find the 7 steps the author took that led to her recovery from chronic pain including:
- Understanding pain
- Understanding the science of yoga
- Taming the mind
- Using the breath as a source of energy
- Developing postures for a daily yoga practice
- Creating self-care rituals
- Living mindfully