Got bodyaches? Want to fix it without medicine? There are many natural remedies to help cope with chronic pain, but one remedy may surprise you. Can yoga relieve musculoskeletal pain?
Many people these days are searching for non-pharmaceutical ways to manage their pain and medical conditions while trying to safely maintain or improve physical fitness. Yoga can be an ideal way to achieve these things.
*If you have a medical condition, please consult a doctor first to ensure your safety before starting a new fitness routine.
What are musculoskeletal conditions?
Musculoskeletal conditions are one of the main causes of physical discomforts and disability. They are classified as injuries that affect bones, muscles, tendons, nerves, and soft tissue. These conditions can be chronic joint inflammatory disorders, such as Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Or, they can be less permanent muscular issues like lower back pain.
With issues like these, it is very common that your primary physician will recommend some sort of complimentary, non medical treatment, such as Tai Chi or various other exercises. Yoga is quickly becoming one such popular complimentary alternative therapy for these issues.
How does yoga relieve musculoskeletal pain?
There are many different ways that yoga can positively affect pain management of these conditions. The level of exercise and physical movement will need to be adjusted for the individual and their condition. Everyone’s personal flexibility and range of motion is different. Certain conditions and injuries can provide limitations.
Fortunately, yoga is for all levels and ages. Yoga combines meditation, postures, and breathing exercises to treat the whole individual: mind, body, and spirit.
There are many different yoga practices. They all state that you should never force your body to do what it can’t and won’t do. Everything (flexibility, strength, and ability to do certain postures) comes with time and regular practice, not immediately or overnight.
If you’re concerned yoga may not be right for you, please read 11 Reasons You’re Not Trying Yoga (And Why You Should)
Yoga can provide help to the body in the following ways:
- Circulation to the joints and muscles – even the most gentle exercise provide an increase in blood flow
- Stretching – Yoga poses are designed to stretch multiple muscle groups all at a time. Even short sequences can aide the whole body
- Strengthens muscles through both gentle endurance training or more rigorous training depending on the type of practice you’ve chosen
- Burns fat – IF a person is overweight, that can be a factor for musculoskeletal issues because it can put extra stress on the joints, thereby causing pain, among other issues.
- Deep Breathing – yoga utilizes deep and controlled breathing, and also movement with the breath. These methods bring more oxygen to the tissues. Oxygen is needed for the body to create fuel for the muscles to use
Yoga for Musculoskeletal Pain Management
If a person is in pain, the initial mental and emotional response can be a wide variety of things, including stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Yoga helps with mentally being able to cope with the pain and frustration of these conditions as well by:
- reducing stress – again, yoga utilizes deep breathing. Think about how you react when you are stressed. Chances are you tend to hold your breath. Deep breathing can reduce the heart rate and blood pressure
- Meditation is a part of many yogic practices and has proven very useful and effective at managing both pain and stress according to recent (and less recent) studies. Even just a few minutes a day can provide lasting results. Some of these studies suggest that “mindful meditation is more effective than distraction”.
Yoga can be done at home for free with very little equipment needed, or for a small fee at your local studio. Instructors can be very helpful in providing advice on how to help with specific areas that need attention. Be sure to tell them before class what you may need help with.
The Verdict: Can Yoga Relieve Musculoskeletal Pain?
YES! With proper guidance and gentle practice, you can get relief from many issues.
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