Yoga has profound mental and physical health benefits. It is a practice that focuses on breathing, practicing mindfulness, and gentle stretching as it leads the body through various poses. In a 2017 study, the benefits of yoga in the management of chronic low back pain was highlighted:
- It reduces low back pain
- It reduces the need for pain medications
- Improves activity performance
Here are three painful orthopedic conditions that can greatly benefit from a regular yoga practice:
Dr. Kolasinski studied the benefits of Iyengar yoga (90-minute sessions once a week for 8 weeks) in her patients with osteoarthritis, a painful condition of the joints marked by inflammation. She reported improvement in her patient’s pain, overall inflammation, and improved joint function.
An eight-week yoga study conducted at University of Pennsylvania concluded that patients reported a reduction in overall pain, tenderness and finger joints’ range of motion.
Subhadra Evans, PhD at UCLA Medical Center conducted a small study with her rheumatoid arthritis patients. They participated in once a week Iyengar yoga sessions for 6 weeks and reported marked improvement in their joint function. They were able to perform daily activities more easily and reported improved energy levels. The effect on pain was limited but Evans concluded that there would definitely be marked improvement in their pain levels, if they had continued the yoga practice for a longer period of time.
Muscle spasms are a result of muscle overuse, imbalance, and pressure. Rest, relaxation, and gentle stretching greatly reduces the pain caused by a muscle spasm. Yoga moves the body through various asanas providing the same benefits which greatly reduces the need for strong pain medications.
The sciatic pain usually originates deep in the buttocks, back of the thighs and side of the lower leg. It is caused by the injury to the sciatic nerve either by a compression or a fracture. These ten yoga poses provide great relief for the sciatic pain which can be a chronic problem for some individuals.
Yoga can be a great alternative practice in the management of chronic pain, improving flexibility, and overall function while fostering a positive mind-body connection.
Trying different pain management techniques for chronic pain is a great way to learn what works best for you and your body. Ask our professionals at Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists for their advice on improving your spine health with yoga and exercise.