WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN AND YOGA
The encouraging news for people with chronic pain is that mind-body exercises have a protective effect on the brain's gray matter that counteracts the neuroanatomical changes caused by chronic pain. An interesting fact is that 20% of the total body consumption of the amount of oxygen in the body is spent in the brain, while 95% of it is spent in the gray matter.
Increases in gray matter in the brains of those who practice yoga are associated with the duration of yoga practice, confirming a causal relationship between yoga and increases in gray matter.
Whether you practice yoga for an hour, twenty minutes, or just five minutes, stretching the body can reduce pain, inflammation, and unwanted injuries. Yoga can also help calm your mind and calm your emotions. When you learn how to relax, you are well on your way to healing from chronic pain.
Today, people around the world use yoga to relax, stay healthy, and help relieve pain associated with chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia without overuse of drugs or more invasive pain treatments.
BREATHING IS MOST IMPORTANT
The practice of yoga begins with your breath, and many of the medical benefits of yoga relate to deep breathing. If you are in pain, you can help yourself at first just by focusing your attention on your breathing. Slowing down the breathing helps the entire nervous system to calm down and rest.
To begin the exercise, sit in a comfortable sitting position or lie on your back with your arms by your side. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and evenly for at least 3-5 minutes. Focus your attention on inhaling and exhaling.
YOGA POSITIONS THAT WILL HELP YOU
Depending on the location of your pain symptoms, different yoga poses can help stretch or relax the problem parts of your body.
Sit on a flat surface and put your feet together then stretch your legs alternately downwards and upwards. This position stretches the knees and hips, the muscles of the waist and moves the entire pelvis.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your pelvis leaving your shoulders and feet on the floor. The movement can be repeated several times.
Get on your knees with your palms on the floor. Lift and stretch your back up, dropping your chin toward your sternum. So release your waist and stretch your body back, bending your head back. Repeat several times.
Stand with your arms raised above your head, palms together. Gently lean to the side with your arms extended in one direction and your hips in the other. Stay in this position for a few seconds, do the same on the other side. In this position you stretch the muscles of your arms and body. This exercise also helps to maintain balance.
Lie on a flat surface with your feet against a wall and your body in an "L" shape. Stay in this position for as long as is comfortable. This position, by elevating your feet, gently soothes lower back pain.
In the long term, alternative pain treatments such as yoga and meditation may even be more effective than pharmaceutical treatments in relieving chronic pain.