Fitness Magazine

Yoga for Pain Management: The Big Picture

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina

Yoga for Pain Management: The Big Picture

Melting Ice at Blackstone River by Marie Lossky
(@Marie.Lossky on Instagram)

“Two components of yoga that helped eliminate the chronic pain were learning how to relax, and learning how to tune in to my body to recognize when muscle tension was contributing to pain. Rather than accepting discomfort, or powering through discomfort, or ignoring discomfort, I learned to pay attention to my body, to tune in to my body, to stop doing the things that made it hurt (duh!), to recognize tension and to practice consciously and actively letting it go.” —Ramona Pittman  
Baxter’s interview with Shelly Prosko last week made it very clear that western medicine is failing people with chronic pain. Even though there is now an understanding that just prescribing pain medications isn’t a good solution, simply withdrawing the medication without providing alternative treatments is backfiring. But, as Shelly pointed out, yoga can help address this problem! 

Yoga provides several different pain reduction techniques that allow you to manage both acute and chronic paiin. You can also use yoga to change your relationship to pain, influencing your pain perception, improving pain tolerance, and changing habitual ways of reacting to pain. You can use pain management techniques for two types of yoga treatment: 

  1. Symptom Improvement. To reduce pain for any conditions that cause acute or chronic pain, such low back pain. May also assist in recovery, especially for acute sprains and strains. 
  2. Adjunct to Western Medicine. To aid in treatment of conditions that have pain as a main feature, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic headaches, and cancer recovery. 
Because we’ve been writing about pain management for several years, I thought it was about time I provided you with an overview of the types of information we have! For your convenience, I’ve divided the posts into three basic categories: background about pain, information about how yoga helps with pain, and specific how-to information on using yoga to reduce and/or manage pain. About Pain Learning about pain will help you understand the difference between acute and chronic pain, and about the side effects caused by periods of chronic pain. With this background, you’ll be better able to use the tools we describe in our posts.Understanding Pain by Nina. This post describes what pain is and discusses the difference between acute and chronic pain, which should be treated differently.Friday Q&A: Questions for Shelly Prosko about Chronic Pain. This interview with Shelly Prosko gives more background about chronic (aka persistent pain), including the problems western medicine has treating it effectively. How Yoga Helps with Pain Interview with Shari and Bonnie on Chronic Pain. This interview with Shari Ser and Bonnie Maeda, who teach workshops on chronic pain, discusses why yoga is particularly beneficial for helping people with chronic pain.How and Why Yoga Helps with Pain by Ram. This article discusses specific scientific studies to help you understand why yoga techniques are very effective solutions for helping those with chronic pain.Yoga for Pain Management by Baxter. This post gives Baxter’s quick overview of why yoga is effective for pain management.How Yoga Helps with Pain by Nina. This overview synthesizes much of the information covered in the other posts in an organized overview. Friday Q&A: Questions for Shelly Prosko about Chronic Pain by Baxter. This interview with Shelly Prosko includes a discussion of why yoga can help people with chronic pain in ways that current Western medical establishment is failing. How to Use Yoga to Reduce and/or Manage Pain Techniques for Using Yoga for Pain Management by Nina. This overview lists all the specific techniques we recommend you use for managing chronic pain. Changing Your Relationship to Pain by Nina. This post recommends specific yoga techniques you can use to change your relationship to chronic pain, as fear and other negative feelings about pain can actually worsen the pain. Pain Management Sequence by Baxter. This sequence combines gentle poses to improve strength, flexibility, and overall movement of the body without triggering pain with poses that allow your body to rest and repair itself. The final five supported and restorative poses reduce stress levels, which can help reduce pain, and move you into the Rest and Digest state, which bolsters both healing and immune system function. Acute Orthopedic Injuries by Shari. This post has recommendations for how you help reduce acute pain that is the result of an injury.

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