As recently as 10 years ago, if you approached your doctor complaining of back pain, you would essentially be sent to bed. For traditional medicine, rest was the prescription to back pain relief and, if that didn’t work… Well, you need more rest!
Contemporary treatments for back pain however, have become more holistic. Today, getting back into action and moving as soon as possible following painful incidents, injuries, and even many surgeries is the accepted practice. So yes, yoga for pain relief really does work.
According to the online publishing site for Harvard Medical School, “Yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain, and many other types of chronic pain conditions.”
In fact, there are many studies that explain how people with chronic low back pain can benefit from a weekly yoga class, finding increased mobility and flexibility, as opposed to traditional treatment methods for the condition. Further, yoga has been found to be as effective as standard exercise therapy in relieving chronic lower back pain.
When you’re in pain, you want a slow-paced, gentle practice for rehabilitation and strengthening of the injured area. Because yoga focuses on slow movements and stretches, along with deep breathing, it is often used to ease arthritis and back pain.
How Yoga Relieves Pain
Yoga works on stretching and strengthening muscles and muscle groups. If the key to long-term healing is becoming stronger, yoga is a great choice for those who seek a gentler, more relaxed alternative to “pumping iron”. By increasing strength, releasing muscle tension, improving flexibility, and bolstering joints and bones, yoga helps to bring your body into balance, reducing pain.
There are other therapeutic benefits to yoga. It is a mind-body practice and type of exercise that combines controlled breathing, meditation, and body positions designed to stretch and strengthen your muscles. However, yoga is unique among exercise routines, in that it emphasizes mental fitness as much as physical fitness.
A typical yoga session will run from 45 to 90 minutes, and will generally begin with breathing exercises to relax you. these exercises will also help you free your mind of worries and distractions prior to beginning the physical work. Breathing deeply through your nose is a vital component of yoga.
Your yoga session should then proceed through a series of seated, standing, and prone yoga postures. These postures are known as asanas. Some asanas are held for a few seconds, others for up to a few minutes. Holding the body correctly in the various postures and breathing into them to stretch farther is important. The sessions typically end with more breathing and meditation.
Naturally, you can also practice yoga at home for 10 to 20 minutes a few times a week.
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