Pain management can be frustrating especially when looking for alternative methods to relieving chronic pain. Yoga has been known to help physical pain, but why? Here are some insights into the relation between yoga and chronic pain.
Yoga and Chronic Pain
In order to understand how yoga works for chronic pain, it’s good to have a better understanding of chronic pain. Read more about How to Understand Chronic Pain.
Physical Benefits of Yoga
The physical stress of chronic pain on the body can trigger and prolong the flares in pain as well as intensify the physical aspects of it. Other health issues can spiral from the mismanagement of physical pain. Issues can include high blood pressure, muscle tension, and/or muscle spasms.
Yoga is a slow-moving exercise and can be compared to stretching. It can help loosen taut muscles and prevent muscle spasms. Done correctly, yoga can strengthen the body’s central core which relieves pressure on the back and spine. Improving the core and spinal areas will increase the body’s overall function while decreasing levels of pain.
Read more about the benefits of yoga in Emma’s article 104 Evidence-Based Benefits of Yoga: Why You Should Do Yoga.
Mental Benefits of Yoga
Chronic pain can trigger mental and emotional responses. These responses can include worries, frustration, depression, anxiety, and more. Unfortunately, this can also alter the way you view your chronic pain, and subsequently, this can heighten the intensity of the pain without intention on your part.
One of the principles of yoga is meditation or breathing techniques. Both of these practices, when done regularly, will lower levels of anxiety, frustration, and irritability. The emotional and mental stresses will lessen by giving the body a sense of peace.
Studies show that yoga releases chemicals in the brain that prove these mental benefits. Cortisol (the stress hormone) levels are lowered and serotonin (the happy hormone) levels are increased. Proper adjustment of these hormones results in a higher quality of sleep which your body needs in order to recover from the physical stress of chronic pain. Getting the sleep you need helps to break the sleep-pain cycle.
Do you practice yoga for fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or as a relaxation technique?