Yoga can be helpful in pain management with both physical and mental benefits. Knowing the science of pain is important to help us understand how yoga can reduce pain.
When an injury occurs, receptors convey the danger message to the spinal cord and then to the brain. The brain decides when you will experience pain. Pain is thus an output of the brain and not an input from your body. Pain can be present without injury or after injuries have healed.
Actual tissue damage is not the only reason that leads to pain. Other factors like emotions and stress can influence the sensations of pain.
So how can yoga help in pain management? Various studies prove the positive effects of yoga on pain. One of the main benefits of yoga is that of taming our minds. Thoughts often lead to emotions like stress, anxiety, or worry. Reducing negative thoughts and practising gentle yoga moves, can be a recipe for reducing pain. With mindfulness movement and meditation one will soothe the body and mind.
Experiencing chronic pain can make it difficult to stay active. This can result in decreased flexibility and limited range of motion. Tight muscles can contribute to pain. Yoga works by improving muscle flexibility and promoting relaxation. Even reducing inflammation and increasing the release of pain-relieving endorphins.
An important factor that helps in pain reduction is gentle and deep yogic breathing. This enables the release of tension and anxiety. It can help us choose to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and learn to let go of what we cannot control.
I have seen many students reduce or get rid of lower back and neck pain through tailor-made yoga sessions. Many yoga students suffering from fibromyalgia, arthritis and sciatica regard yoga as their best medicine.
It’s important to be aware that not all yoga styles are beneficial for everyone. Before starting a yoga practice, discuss any physical restrictions with your yoga teacher.