Chronic pain takes a toll on you - both mentally and physically. In fact, chronic pain can even alter the structure and activity of your brain. In a study of chronic back pain, researchers found that people suffering from back pain less than two months had brain activity limited to the region that processes acute pain. However, for people with chronic back pain (10 years or more), the researchers found that the brain activity was confined to the brain’s emotion-related circuitry rather than the acute pain region.
Additionally, there is a link between chronic pain and depression/anxiety disorders. Being in pain all the time can cause depression and anxiety. On the other hand, being depressed and stressed can lead to pain. Unfortunately, many patients fall into this vicious cycle. Therefore, it is important that both the mental and physical symptoms of pain be treated.
Since yoga can help improve your mental wellbeing as well as your physical body, it can help some people cope with and manage their chronic pain. Let’s take a closer look.
Yoga for Chronic Pain Management
Yoga is an exercise practice and philosophy that has been around for thousands of years. It is a practice that helps both the mind and body achieve health and balance. The most common type of yoga is Hatha yoga. This type combines physical postures, mindfulness, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.
One of the more obvious uses of yoga is its ability to help strengthen muscles, stretch muscles, and improve balance and flexibility. Therefore, people with muscle pain may benefit. When muscles are tensed - such as back pain caused by poor posture or tensed neck muscles that cause headaches - yoga can help stretch them out and strengthen them.
Not only can yoga help treat the mechanical part of pain, but it can also help relieve stress and depression. As mentioned earlier, chronic pain can cause anxiety and depression, and anxiety and depression can lead to pain. Therefore, it is important to treat the mental symptoms as well.
Many yoga practices have mindfulness and meditative-like elements. Meditation and mindfulness can help with relaxation and reducing anxiety and depression. In fact, one study found that after a 3-day mindfulness meditation intervention, participants reported decreased anxiety scores and pain scores.
Adding Yoga to Your Treatment Plan
It is important to point out that if practiced incorrectly, yoga may make your pain worse. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with your pain doctor first to make sure it is safe for you to perform yoga. Then, it is important to find an experienced yoga teacher.
If you are looking for a Henderson pain management doctor, contact Apex Medical Center! We specialize in diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions. We use a combination of traditional and alternative methods to help patients achieve pain relief. In fact, we find that a combination of traditional and alternative methods often yields the best results.